Performance art is often thought to center around the artist’s body—improvising within parameters or working through a set of directions. What happens when the physical is eliminated or intentionally ignored in favor of a virtual experience. Does the physicality of a performance translate? Does it need to?
Video games manage to straddle the line between the physical and the virtual—set the stage for a dual performance of the player’s subtle physical dance of fingers across a controller and the pixelated movements of digital bodies.
Following similar avenues as traditional performance art, video games set up a framework for acting and improvising. Players can work within these programmed parameters or some have elected to hack games and gaming platforms to set their own rules.
Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start1 highlighted the actions of artists, programmers and players who choreograph their own performances—including including the players. From classic console games, to artist-created worlds, these works invite viewers to see virtual and real worlds in a new light and hopefully with a little more performance.
Image at top: Dana Sperry First Person Shooter or New Rider of the Apocalypse, 2006
Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start, also known as the “Konami Code,” is a cheat code for some video games that allows players to immediately gain hundreds of lives or unlock “Easter eggs”—special surprises or hidden game modes. [Back]
Who would pull an 8-ton truck across the city of Cleveland? It turns out that hundreds of Clevelanders would.
Internationally renowned performance artist William Pope.L asked people across Cleveland to manually pull an eight-ton truck for over two days straight, as a durational community performance piece and a testament to the power of shared labor.
Over 1,400 images collected from Clevelanders about what work means to them were projected from the back of the truck as it is pulled over twenty-five miles through the city. Pull! defied the persistent geographic and demographic split between Cleveland’s east and west sides, traveling through a diversity of neighborhoods on both sides of town—from North Collinwood, Glenville, University Circle, Hough, AsiaTown and downtown; to West Park, Clark-Fulton and Ohio City. Residents were able to view images submitted by Clevelanders as the truck was pulled through their neighborhoods.
Pull! was a show of strength that could only happen if thousands of people literally pulled together in a massive act of shared commitment. It celebrated the labor that built Cleveland, a city with a rich
and challenging industrial history. It asked every Clevelander, whether they loved or hated their jobs or just couldn’t find one, what work meant to their city.
Pull! took place on June 7-9, 2013, as part of Present & Accounted: A Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Cleveland Performance Art Festival (1988–1999).
Community Forum on Work
Thursday, May 30, 6:30–8:30pm
Neighborhood Leadership Institute
(2nd floor of Broadway United Methodist Church Building)
With the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, Policy Matters Ohio and Neighborhood Connections
Friday, June 7, 9:00 p.m. – Sunday, June 9, 9:00 pm
From the Beachland Ballroom to Market Square Park
Pull! Launch Party
Friday, June 7, 7:00–9:00 pm
15711 Waterloo Road
Featuring the Revolution Brass Band
Pull! Joins Parade the Circle
Saturday, June 8, 12:00–3:00 pm
10820 East Boulevard
Pull! End Party
Sunday, June 9, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Market Square Park
West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue
Featuring Passport Project and the Neil Chastain Quartet
Pull! is made possible by generous support from the 2012 Joyce Awards, the George Gund Foundation, the John P. Murphy Foundation, Neighborhood Connections, Speedpro Imaging, Good Greens, the Distillata Company, Jakprints and FORM, and is produced in partnership with the 25th Anniversary of the Cleveland Performing Arts Festival, 2100 Lakeside, the Beachland Ballroom, Berea Moving & Storage, City Rising Farm, the Cleveland Memory Project, the Cleveland Print Room, Cleveland Public Library, the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Famicos, Neighborhood Connections, the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, Northeast Shores, Ohio City Incorporated, Parade the Circle, Policy Matters Ohio, St. Paul Community Church, and Tenable Protective Services.
Imagine a freckled 14 year old girl at the mall who approaches a stranger and asks, “What is the weather like where you are?” The bewildered stranger cocks an eyebrow and replies, “It’s pretty cold and snowing.” The girl states, “It is 11 degrees Celsius here in Tehran.” Thoroughly confused, the stranger narrows his eyes and furrows his brow. The girl goes on to explain, “I am sitting in my home in Iran, listening to you through my computer and speaking to you through this girl in front of you. I am a 30 year-old man and a musician. What kinds of music do you like?”
The brainchild of artists Jon Rubin and Felipe Castelblanco, this scenario will play out a number of times at different locations in Cleveland as part of The Foreigner. The project employs simple mobile technology that allows Clevelanders to act as physical avatars for Iranian citizens, thus enabling the general public in the mall to meet and speak to someone living in Iran through the body of a local citizen.
The Foreigner presents an uncanny circumstance where the separation between self and other, local and foreign, is collapsed and confused, and the geopolitical distance between the United States and Iran is made personal and local.
Events with Avatars
Opening at SPACES
Friday, February 1, 6:00–9:00 pm Other events
Saturday, February 2, 10:00 am–1:00 pm
Saturday, February 9, 10:00 am–1:00 pm
Sunday, February 17, 10:00 am–1:00 pm
Saturday, March 9, 10:00 am–1:00 pm
Saturday, April 6, 10:00 am–1:00 pm
Steve Lambert‘s Capitalism Works for Me! TRUE/FALSE is a 20-foot long lighted sign that allows viewers to vote “true” or “false’ through a kiosk and accompanying LED scoreboard. The sign was first shown at SPACES, then traveled around Cleveland before touring to Boston, Santa Fe, Los Angeles and other cities in the U.S. and beyond.
The word “capitalism” is anathema to conversation—its introduction to social situations is often a cue that things will start to get uncomfortable. At the same time, capitalism is discussed every day in our culture using euphemisms like “jobs,” “job creation,” “the business climate,” and discussing whatever “crisis” is deemed relevant: a housing crisis, financial crisis, job crisis, or fill-in-the blank crisis. These are pieces, but the whole is rarely a topic of frank discussion, much less any mention of alternatives or meaningful reform of the sacred cow.
But what to do? Start a conversation about capitalism and friends edge away slowly, and strangers even faster./p>
Make a game of it. Through Lambert’s bright, glitzy sign that borrows its aesthetics from the trappings of capitalism, discussions of capitalism aren’t framed as awkward party conversation or polemic political dogma, but as simple benign votes that are catalysts or gentle primers for discussion. The space around the sign becomes a zone where conversation of economic structures is welcomed and fostered.
Steve Lambert discussing Capitalism Works for Me! TRUE/FALSE at Creative Time Summit 2012
Lambert says of his work, “For me, art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. I carefully craft various conditions where I can discuss these ideas with people and have a mutually meaningful exchange. Often this means working collaboratively with the audience, bringing them into the process or even having them physically complete the work.”
The project/sign will be on view at SPACES August 26–October 21, but will travel around Cleveland to see how the conversation changes. Here is a schedule for the sign’s travels outside of the gallery space:
Friday, August 26, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 pm
Downtown Farmers’ Market at Public Square
Across from Old Stone Church
Saturday, August 27, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm
Open Air at Market Square
Across from the West Side Market on Market Avenue
Monday, August 29, 6:30 – 9:00 pm
1390 W. 65th St.
Tuesday, August 30, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Tremont Farmers’ Market
Lincoln Park, on W 14th St. between Starkweather and Kenilworth Avenues
Friday, September 16
Detroit Superior Bridge, lower level
Saturday, September 17
Detroit Superior Bridge, lower level
Sunday, September 18
Detroit Superior Bridge, lower level
Steve utilized Kickstarter.com (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/slambert/make-capitalism-work-for-me) to raise money to help get the sign made and travel around the U.S. Thanks to the 434 individuals who donated to the cause.
Steve Lambert was SPACES’ 34th artist in residence as part of the SPACES World Artists Program (SWAP). SWAP is a residency initiative begun in 2002 that invites national and international artists to spend significant amounts of time in Cleveland. SWAP supports the creation, presentation and discussion of artwork while facilitating collaboration among audiences.
Image at top: Steve Lambert Capitalism Works for Me! TRUE/FALSE, 2011
Initial mockup of the sign
Participating artist(s):David Wojnarowicz, Deborah Stratman, Gili Avissar, Guy Ben-Ner, Kate Gilmore, Ben Hagari, Gilad Ratman, Elham Rokni, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Steven Cohen, Matthew Barton, Anna Bojic, Berni Searle, Lerato Shadi, Penny Siopis, Chris Coleman and Michael Salter, Paul Edmunds, Simon Gush, Pieter Hugo, Susan Krueger-Barber, Jennifer Levonian, Michael MacGarry, Nandipha Mntambo, Andrew Putter, Eric Rippert, Dario Šolman, Brian Sabalausky, Cigdem Slankard, Doron Solomons, Karel van Laere, Nanette Yannuzzi and Arzu Ozkal, Ghosh, J. Makary, Sarah Paul (Little Miss Cleveland), Nathaniel Whitcomb, Davor Sanvincenti, Marko Tanic, Petra Zlonoga, Elena Harvey Collins, Michelle Fried, R. Eric McMaster, Eric Rippert, Ben Kinsley and Jessica Langley, Alexis Gideon, Cleveland Performance Art Festival Archives, Scorpion Dagger, and Dan "Daino" Torres.
In SPACES’s location at 2220 Superior Viaduct, in the front gallery space, there was a false wall behind which was an old vault that was original to the building. It is where we stored our electronics when not in use in the gallery. I proposed repurposing it into a digital flat file. We could install a small media hard drive and give visitors the remote control to peruse through dozens of sound and video files rather than being at the mercy of an endless loop of material. Work was added to the The Vault on a rolling basis where it would remain on view for approximately six months and then rotate out. I actively programmed content for The Vault from 2010 until 2013, bringing in dozens of time-based works.
Image at top: Ben Hagari Invert (still), 2010
Participating artist(s):bbob Drake, Elaine Hullihen, Tom Orange, Sarah Paul, Lucy Raven, Eric Rippert, Kristin Rogers, Maria Samuelson, Deborah Stratman, Peter Tabor, and Laila Voss
Throw away the canvas. Let the brushes dry out. Grab a #2 pencil (but you may not need it). This fall, SPACES will be host to The Plum Academy: An Institute for Situated Practices, an experimental school. Rather than house a traditional exhibition of objects, SPACES is choosing to organize a school-as-exhibition. Concepts and ideas will take the forefront, rather than materials, styles and conventional aesthetics. Specially selected facilitators from the regional community and beyond will lead forums that approach topics obliquely, find unique entry points to ideas and challenge the established structures of education. (To assist in taking a different look at education, we use the terms “forum” and “facilitator” rather than “class” and “teacher”, respectively.)
Forum subjects will be unexpected. The student-teacher relationship will be questioned and the school itself will function as a large, collaborative performance. Forum subjects will be unexpected. The student-teacher relationship will be questioned and the school itself will function as a large, collaborative performance.
This is not an “art school” per se. We are not offering art classes. We do offer a variety of forums that tackle contemporary thought on a number of topics and disciplines-that challenge traditional educational systems, are out-of-the-ordinary, outrageous, educational and entertaining. Forums will be solo presentations, workshops, open discussions, field trips, etc.