Personal space, something that’s cherished in the United States, is put to the test in Brooklyn-based artist George Ferrandi’s series, I Felt Like I Knew You. This site-specific performance features Ferrandi on the crowded New York City subway. In her words, she transforms the space between two people from being stiff and guarded to something that resembles a space friends would share. Essentially, she sits in a packed subway car, rests her head on a stranger’s shoulders, and documents what happens through iPhone videos shot by Angela Gilland.
Not surprisingly, not everyone is receptive to Ferrandi’s invasion of their “personal bubble.” Some people wake her up or passive aggressively move their shoulder. Some, however, just let her rest. In an interview with Katherine Brooks of the Huffington Post, Ferrandi was asked if she learned anything from the project. Her response:
For me, this piece taps into the mystery and fragility of how we relate and communicate to each other as human animals, full of signs secret even to ourselves. It’s given me a deeper understanding of the way New Yorkers evolve to maintain their privacy in public spaces. We carry our energy so closely. We’re often pressed up against each other on the train with a kind of “I wish I wasn’t touching you” energy that is invisible but respected. This is part of why so many people are touched by a photo of one man resting his head on the shoulder of another; it challenges a preconception about tenderness between strangers, especially in New York. And it offers a tiny counterpoint to the Culture of Fear being cultivated in America.
All images are stills from iPhone videos. They make you ponder how you would act if Ferrandi put her head on your shoulder. Would you engage her or move your shoulder? (Via Huffington Post)
Raphael Hefti, an artist interested in the factory-like production and performative qualities of art making, puts a twist on ‘land/earth art’ by using sand, iron oxide, aluminum and a 19th century welding process on an enclosed gallery space in London.
His works blur the boundaries between natural/industrial, as he shows new ways of considering the artwork outside of already established narratives, in this case, setting up a foundry (a factory that produces metal castings) in a gallery space, and/or creating a natural process in an industrialized way/setting.
‘Quick Fix Remix’, a performance and exhibition, demonstrates the artist working with the process of ‘thermic welding’, a 19th century industrial process originally devised to weld steel train tracks together. The sand underneath the artist’s feet is composed of iron oxide and aluminum. With the help of both the portable casting vessel (located towards the back of the gallery space) and the artist’s physical labor, the sandy landscape is transformed into an improvised metal casting factory. (via mousse magazine)
“For me the idea of performance is related intimately to the idea of production. Often the situation I work in has its own sense of choreography – from the dunes of a beach to the machinery of a factory floor.”
The performances of Zhu Ming are filled with almost a lonely kind of pensiveness. Covered in paint, he enters the bubble often floating on water. The bubble is specially created for the piece and specifically designed to slowly fill with water. Soon the paint is washed off Zhu Ming’s body as he floats quietly alone. The bubble emphasizes the solitary nature of his performance, and underscores ideas of existential isolation. Zhu Ming’s work unfolds silent and strange sort of dignity that is difficult to not project onto life as a whole.
It’s difficult to tell if it is performance art, a design project, or just a weird way to date. However you classify it, graphic designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman have flung themselves into the project straightforwardly titled 40 Days of Dating. Exasperated with the New York City dating scene, the designers turned to each other. Each deals with the opposite problem – Jessica jumps in too quickly, Timothy’s reluctant to take the plunge. The two good friends decided to date each other for forty days – the amount of time often thought required to quit a bad habit. However, the dating project entails a bit more. First, there are six rules:
We will see each other every day for forty days.
We will go on at least three dates a week.
We will see a couples therapist once a week.
We will go on one weekend trip together.
We will fill out the daily questionnaire and document everything.
We will not see, date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else.
The daily dating adventures of the couple were then uploaded to their in fashionable design style. Would love and dating be redeemed or their relationship irreparably ruined? 40 Days of Dating was set to find out.
Typically, the art of drawing focuses on the finished product – the marks left on the paper that form an image. Heather Hansen‘s Emptied Gestures is as much a performance piece as it is a drawing. Appearing to use charcoal or pastel, Hansen literally steps on to the paper and begins to draw. She allows the natural movements of her body – the movements of joints, the extension of her back, stretching and contracting – to define her lines. The large-scale drawing becomes a kind of record of her moving body. Interestingly she says:
“Emptying Gestures is an experiment in kinetic drawing. In this series, I am searching for ways to download my movement directly onto paper, emptying gestures from one form to another and creating something new in the process.”
Street art has become especially exciting and unpredictable over the last several years. However, the last place many would expect to find it is on the water. The New York based street artist SWOON designed three sea vessels built from salvaged material. The “flotilla” sailed from the coast of Slovenia to Venice, Italy. Though, definitely not the street SWOON effectively brings an urban aesthetic to sea. Photographer Tod Seelie was along for the ride to document the trip. The photographs and wild journey are as amazing as the vessels themselves. The raucous mash up of materials perfectly match the crew and set the atmosphere for what was certainly a wild ride.
Katya Grokhovsky‘s series Untitled Heroic is deeply complex and familiarly conflicted. For the series Grokhovsky makes use any medium necessary – photography, performance, video, and even a cardboard cut-out installation. The artist seems to attract and repel. The series is at once confrontational, seductive, and wonderfully volatile. By way of her statement, Grokhovsky says that Untitled Heroic is, “A series of performances for photography and video, culminating in a large-scale cutboard cutout installation, whereby a female artist is dealing with frustrating desire to both attract and reject the notion of a male gaze.” Grokohovsky’s work is also the subject of an upcoming solo exhibit at New York’s Galerie Protégé.
From setting hipster traps to designing tourist lanes on sidewalks, Jeff Greenspan’s work consistently employs a certain playful cleverness that questions our social norms in relation to spaces, New York City in particular. The Statue Experiment (pictured above) is no exception. Examining our own reality as far as engaging with art and its contextual expectations is concerned, Greenspan adds a little bowl of change in front of Frank Benson’s statue for a whole new effect. In fact, it just might be the best street performance art performed by an actual object . . . or maybe it’s the audience members who are the real performers? Click on the video after the jump to see what we mean.