Curating Performance Art Night is always wild and rewarding. It was especially so in September. While perhaps the most palpable memory of the evening was the small riot which resulted in Notsuoh telling me that Clockpole is no longer welcome to perform in future Performance Art Nights, the evening included many other thought provoking moments complete with poetic tacos, stylish sculptures, casting couches, meditative movements, gentle nudging and a progressive session of gesture drawing.
The night kicked off with Cris Skelton's "Tacos and Shakespeare," in which he quoted Shakespeare while eating tacos. I imagine Chris intended for it to be funny but no one laughed much, which honestly made it more funny to me. The tension in the room emerged from the audience's awkwardness as they did not seem to know how to react or what to expect. I was uncomfortable but in an enjoyable way. My main contemplation during the piece was how a performer could interact with the audience's tension. Perhaps the intentional creation of a tension like this is impossible but it seems like a rich place to create powerful experiences.
Next came Tracy Hamblin, a new performer, exploring the power dynamic of the job interview. There was strength in the concept. Mike Ambramowitz, a somewhat notorious unruly local creative character has an upcoming job interview. Tracy engaged the crowd to help him prepare by conducting mock interviews. Three people volunteered. On stage, Tracy trained them on the interview process including the use of power poses. After each mock interview, the interviewer critiqued Mike, telling him how to be more like the interviewer and less like himself. It was a thought provoking critique of this common social practice. Asking for volunteers to participate in a somewhat complex performance was a big request, and i sensed some unease in the crowd and also in the artists -- but this unease is inherent to interviews in general so it was a very useful conjuring of the feeling in relation to the topic at hand. This perhaps unintentional uneasy dynamic highlighted the "posing" and often skewed judgment that happens in the traditional job interview.