Nazca. 2014. Performance.
For Me / For You: Suite I (February 21, 2014). Performance.
For Me / For You:
Suite I -
FOR ME / FOR YOU
The For Me / For You project is a collaborative initiative that hopes to bridge the gap between artist and audience. I have found, in my own practice and in the practice of others, that many works made by artists tend to be self-referential or telling of a personal narrative. Even in extremely formal and conceptual works, it is impossible to remove every sense of the artist’s history; there will always be a remnant of the maker’s identity. And just as works cannot be purely objective, neither can critiques or interpretations – all audiences carry their own personal histories, which inevitably come up when they are interpreting a work. These voices, that of the artist and that of the audience, are equally present in any work of art as they are the contributing voices to the conversation that the piece provokes; the intent of the artist and the interpretation of the audience are not opposing forces, but rather the two voices required for a dialogue. However, these two forces are still separate and unique.
The main purpose of the For Me / For You project is to experiment and play with the constant conversation between artist and audience, and see how it can be used to create art. Rather than having a dialogue, the finished product helps to bridge the gap by merging these two voices. The works created out of the For Me / For You project are collaborative works that are equal parts artist and equal parts audience.
The process of generating these works begins by the receiving of submissions. I have chosen to use my body as the catalyst for producing these works. As such, all works I produce will, in some way, be of a performative nature. Despite this, any and all submissions are encouraged – whether it be a set of actions, a script, a prompt for a performance, an idea for an intervention, a poem, a word, an image, etc. The artwork that I produce out of this project is entirely dependent on the submissions I receive, and will be split into two categories: For Me and For You.
I will be directly performing a selection of the submissions I receive – they will be referred to as For Me pieces, as these are the scripts that have been submitted for me to act out. If, for example, I end up choosing a submission that asks me to recite the alphabet while balancing a dictionary on my head, I will do just that.
However, I will also use some of the prompts I receive to create entirely new works that act as responses to the given prompts – they will be referred to as For You pieces, as they are direct responses to a selection of the scripts I have received. For example, rather than reciting the alphabet, I might make a piece that questions the purpose of language in a given society. That is to say, the For You pieces are responses rather than reproductions of the submissions.
Despite the two categories, it is important to understand that these individual works are still equal parts artist and audience. Though one may argue that my exact acting out of a prompt in a For Me piece is more viewer than maker, it is important to realize that I am still, in some way, bringing my own content and history into the submission when performing it. Similarly, just because the For You pieces are responses to submissions, it does not mean they are my own works. Each For You piece is entirely dependent on the submission of the audience; furthermore, I always choose to maintain certain elements of the submission present in the finished work.
The purpose of this project is not to eliminate the gap between the artist and the audience, nor is it to enforce it. The For Me / For You project seeks to create works of art out of that conversation, works that will be direct products of the never-ending dialogue between both parties. The finished artworks are purely collaborative works between myself and those that send in submissions. They are as much for me as they are for you.
For You: Impression. 2014. Performance.
Video edited by Ava Threlkel.
Rest Nest (Sleepysuit I). 2014. Performative object.
Caul V: Infinity Riddance. 2014. Performance.
For Me: Ian A. 2014. Performance/Drawing.
For 14 days draw a quick portrait within half an hour of waking up - this portrait should document a non-human entity that is bringing you an unclear message. Just draw the first extra-terrestrial figure that you visualise upon waking up, and then write a couple of words underneath the figure recording the emotional implications of the drawing.