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Omphaloskepsis Blog

Red Rice and Beings

Jan 5, 2013


Angielina Chamberlain posing near the end of the evening while I pour rice around her.

This First Thursday I activated my space with another work of audience participation performance art. This social experiment in my art studio comme lab manifested audience behavior similar to Mother May I...? and Lollipop Peep Show.

They all gathered a crowd of onlookers at my door; unsure about the boundaries of the art, whether or not they could come in. The work force the audience to make a choice; a choice to participate or not -- a choice to be included or a choice to be excluded.


Nikki Kam was the first person to add to the installation with her Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon pose.

With Red Rice and Beings, I often invited one person from a group to participate while the rest of the group looked on They seemed to accept this readily. This is the state of the world. A few are privileged above the rest. I didn't give much direction.


Dominick Mendoza boggied with me.

When people asked I instructed them to decide on a pose - preferably on that interacts with another form, then lay on the floor. I had ideas I wanted to direct. I waiting for people to deeply interact with what was there like an improv.


Kiyoshi Toda gets ready for the "chalk outline" of the dead.

I waited until Kiyoshi for someone to lay across the other forms instead of squeezing in every available space, giving themselves permission to cross the lines already rendered from someone else's form. Usually on First Thursday I can expect to see the wonderful people I come to know and love visiting each month. This month a steady stream of people I've never before seen in my studio enthusiastically watched in crowds at the doorway or came in in small groups around the edges of the room. Only one man dared to cross the room to look at the paintings on the wall.


Often people came back several times over the course of the evening to examine how the installation was progressing. My favorite comment came at the end of the evening when Angielina remarked about the wonderful sound the rice made as it poured out around her and onto the floor.


The communal aspect of the art was thriving as people were compelled to interact with perfect strangers with curiosity and joy.


The red chenille bedspread of people.

As the evening progressed, on my canvas/floor negative space became postive form and form became abstract. In the end a friend's poetic post summed it up. "it looks like a chenille bedspread of people." When the evening came to a close and the doors were locked a few stragglers were yet to leave the building.


A young man looked in and his eyes lit up, "I'm DYING to run across that!" "Go ahead," I replied.


All done! time to go home.

Great installation/performance piece! Can't wait to do it again!

Category: 1st Thursday
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