Sunday, May 16, 2010

30 Days of Dinner Time, Day 10

In the window, Robert and Cynthia. This is the first night where the schedule has failed. At 4pm the planned participant texted her inability to come. I contacted a few people, but thankfully wasn't overwhelmed with concern. It seemed to me that after ten days of the piece, I would have no trouble finding someone in the neighborhood to spontaneously go inside the window.

Thankfully, while I was outside for a totally unrelated purpose, I ran into Robert who I had only just met a couple weeks ago. I told him of my dilemma and he enthusiastically offered to help. With one quick phone call he confirmed his dinner partner and agreed to meet me in one hour to leave.

The culture of spontaneity left the piece vacant for approximately one hour and the culture of spontaneity filled the gap just as quickly. Another first for the piece is that this pair had almost no foreknowledge about my intentions going in. They literally agreed to eat dinner and climbed into a window to honor their promise. I can only imagine how odd that must have felt.

For dinner they stopped at a mexican restaurant on the next block. Cynthia, who had already eaten, partook in flan for dessert while Robert ate a massive meal of tacos and other similar items.

Foot traffic was VERY light tonight. Two police officers pulled off to ask about the goings on... I couldn't help but feel like that good girl who has only ever spoken to police officers for reasons like community art projects.

Because of the minimal viewer movement, I had a great deal of time to get lost in my own viewership. There is a series of steps I go through when viewing this piece, starting with awkwardness and ending in a peaceful and careful viewing participation. It's almost like meditation, like being lost in a vacuum where all that matters in the world is how heavy his hand feels or how gently her feet are floating.

I was there for just a few moments tonight. It ended when I realized that there was silence everywhere... no street noises, no children yelling... for about ten seconds the entire city turned off its volume. In that bizarre silence, the sound inside me became very different, very apparent.

Which leads me to my final thought for day 10. The space outside is just as important as the space in the gallery because neither would be what they are without the other. In a literal way, most art is made to be viewed. But this piece is more about the act of viewing... which activates these environments by the direct and oppositional presence of the other space. The inside space would have no tension without the outside looking in... the outside would have no turmoil without the inside being alive. Viewership is not passive, it activates the work and causes a reaction of reflection pointed back on gaze maker. Ownership and partnership on both sides of the see-through wall.

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