Ahoy, ahoy!  If anyone is reading this (aside from when Gemey reads it in April), I hope your day is wonderful 🙂

We’ve been discussing performance art in class for the past few lectures.  Honestly, I find some performance art to be really weird.  I know that maybe that sounds offensive, but I have seen some examples of performance art that really do not seem to resonate as having much meaning, or, I actually find the concept to be off-putting.

Take Israel Mora’s Banff Centre piece, Level 7. He masturbated for six days and put his semen into seven vials.  The vials were strung between two trees on the centre’s property. I find it very hard to look at this as art.  Perhaps you need to have the piece explained to you or put into context in order to understand it more fully, but from what I could gather, this piece in particular was meant to represent the seven members of his family.  Somehow, I don’t think I would be too pleased if a member of my family “represented” me as a bottle of semen.

Then there’s Viktor Mitic’s Hole Jesus.  He took a painting of Jesus to a rifle range and pumped it full of gunshots.  Was there a deeper meaning behind this painting?  Not really.  Apparently, a critic told Mitic that his work was not penetrating enough.  As an act of retribution, Mitic decided to outline this painting of Jesus in bullet holes.

I dislike both of these performance pieces and don’t really see either one as art.  I know art is supposed to push boundaries and challenge our view of the world, but neither of these works do that for me.  Mora’s piece is something that I find unappealing based on the material being used and Mitic’s just seems like laziness, not a well thought out and carefully executed performance piece.  Yet his painting still brought in almost eight thousand dollars.

This is not to say that I dislike all performance art.  I think some of it is really quite brilliant and interesting.  Some artists are incredibly dedicated to a performance piece that they might be really passionate about.  Stelarc, for example, had a third ear implanted under the skin of his arm in 2007.  Stelarc also wants to put a microphone inside so anyone, anywhere in the world, can hear what Stelarc’s arm is hearing by connecting to the feed on the Internet.  In an interview, Stelarc said this work had been in progress for almost ten years, and it was clearly something he was very passionate about and dedicated to.  I like Stelarc’s arm-ear.  It may make some people squeamish, but I actually feel like I understand what the piece is about and the message it is trying to portray.

The context and place of the body in human culture is a much discussed phenomenon.  Many people feel that new technologies  and medical procedures play a large part in the increasing disconnect of physical presence being a necessity in the modern world. We can bank, shop, chat with friends and even order a pizza for supper without having to physically see or speak to another human being.  It’s kind of eerie, and also thought provoking.  Is this the future of how our bodies will be able to connect?  Are we losing touch with our physical makeup and presence?  Food for thought.

That’s all, and if you’re in the Maritimes, don’t get caught in a snowstorm!

Brit

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