Monday, January 18, 2010

A Mobius Weekend

Ox and O's performance at Mobius 1/16/10

_ I returned from my trip to Boston and my performance in the Mobius Work in Progress series feeling elated. The Ox and O’s piece was well received and seemed to engage the audience as participants as I had hoped. There is always some trepidation when attempting to encourage the audience in a participatory event. Beyond the “will they participate” jitters lies the wondering if they will engage on the level you intend or horrors… engage in ways not intended or imagined.

Audience participation in Ox and O's at Mobius

_ Mobius, a Boston fixture in the experimental art scene since 1977, is hosting these Works in Progress both to introduce the ongoing work of artists but also to give the audience a chance to discuss intent with an artist mid project. The feedback aspect is of particular importance as we get a sense of how our work is being perceived.
My work on this project, while being essentially worked out here on the blog still has many aspects that I was pleased to have an audience; for the experience of this feedback aspect. Initially thought of as personal symbols, my handstamps developed a game aspect as well as becoming a vehicle to examine identity and the role of choice. At Mobius I decided to present this as a game performance with the audience invited to use 40 of my carved pieces on prepared tic tac toe grids as a collaboration. The audience was simply invited to play with no further instruction and could take the collaboration home at the end of the evening. Three other artist were simultaneously performing their pieces as the audience freely moved about either observing or engaging the artists.

Question and Answer artist discussion after performances

_ After an hour we all regrouped and a question and answer session began.
I had a chance to get some insight as to what people found interesting in this piece. Luckily people did seem to find it interesting... on two levels; both how the game operated in relation to choice and how the stamps were beginning to function in a semiotic sense. The fact that I’m starting to have enough symbols to evoke a nascent vocabulary seems like an avenue for further exploration. One question pertained to whether I would begin using contemporary symbols. This also seems like a great area to explore as there are certainly current events and choices therein that continue to form and change the identity. A further suggestion on future display of audience produced works has led me to consider another video highlighting the play aspect of this piece as people became more adventurous "outside the grid".

Melissa McCarthy and I

_ Adding a great icing to the cake was a chance to meet two artists that up until now I had only known virtually. Melissa McCarthy, (mixed media and Fluxus oriented work) made the trip from New Hampshire to see the performances and it was great to get to know her better. Melissa was able to add great color to the question answer session with her insights. Another friend is Jane Wang, who is a member of Mobius and has an intriguing body of performance and installation works that I first became aware of earlier this fall. Jane shot video during the performances and her clips can give a better sense of the evening than my descriptions. Jane Wang video clips of Work in Progress.

William with Jane Wang; experimental and performance member artist of Mobius

_ So, all in all a great opportunity for me. Two more nights of the Work in Progress are scheduled for the 29th and 3oth of this month. Many thanks to Mobius for that opportunity and their work in presenting cutting edge art for over 30 years. Special thanks to Mobius artists; Margaret Bellafiore, Jed Spears and Joanne Rice as curators and for their efforts to make possible the Work in Progress series. I’m always inspired by artists who can juggle their own work as well as organize efforts on behalf of the arts community in general. Please take a moment to visit the Mobius site to view their biographies and art.
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