Participatory Performance Art


thunder thighs–
you just reminded me that I want to do something like this! I found this cool article some time last year (I think Wendy Tremayne wrote it?):

[b]Putting on participatory Performance Art [example: [url=]Vomitorium2004][/url][/b] It was the culmination of more than 5 months of groundwork and a couple thousand years of western civilization. As we found ourselves cleaning out a vat of barf, the adrenaline still rushing, all we could say to each other was: "this is so punk rock!"

Here are some tips for those of you who’d like to stage your own

• A good concept that’s properly articulated will generate everything
needed to produce it. Put your idea out far and wide and use what
comes in to tell you about the way it’s being perceived. View all your
responses as information that can help you tweak your idea into its
best form. We rewrote our text as much as 20 times in search of the
right language to convey our project.

• Promote to and recruit from all demographics. There is nothing more
validating (and interesting) than a production that speaks to everyone.
Our volunteers ranged from 20 years to 63 years old and when viewed
by an audience, people of all ages could find themselves in it.

• If you want to see the truth use volunteers. Actors act. Volunteers
channel. The performance of The Vomitorium was visceral. It was the
truth conveyed by those citizens needing to “do” something about how
they felt.

• There is a right venue for every project. When you seek a venue be
open to all and any possibilities. You may be surprised by who is
willing to support you. Think big. Be ridiculous. Try everything.

• If your project is political and has an important message, make it
free and offer it in a public space. Your message is your only currency
and is best delivered when masses of a diverse population are exposed
to it.

• Access all the free help that’s available to you:
The Mass Defense League will run your project through the legal
grinder and tell you where your at in terms of the law

Materials for the Arts offers free props and materials for artists
connected to a non-profit

New York Foundation for the Arts has a grant library that is free to the
public. They also offer free classes on how to use their databases

Every City has a Parks Department and many have online maps of
useable spaces.

• Love your hate mail. Dialogs that begin with criticism are evidence
that your idea is reaching people in a visceral way. People who care
enough to write a criticism can turn into your best allies and
supporters. You can learn from their different perspectives and
ultimately, they represent some portion of the population that will
eventually view your work. Respectfully respond and listen carefully.

• Keep your idea open. If you have too may preconceived ideas about
how you’re production will look you will miss opportunities. We
incorporated all on theme ideas and consequently wound up with new
characters (like The Vominatrix), better props, donated art and a
script that was better than anything we could have written ourselves.

• Volunteers are most self-empowered when they are asked to express
how they feel and when they are invited to participate in the process.
When a production becomes theirs, there is no end to the amount of
cooperation and creativity that will be generated. Our cast gave us
more than their time and creativity, they built props, donated food and
wine, helped with all aspects of pre production, donated materials for
the show and they made their own costumes.

• Work with what you have. Take what your given and don’t sweat
what you cant secure. Examine what you have each day and ask
yourself how it fits together relative to your theme.

Another example–the Water in the Desert Festival. Really large scale project.

Urban Scout does this stuff all the time! :stuck_out_tongue:

My housemate just shared a news story with me about melamine in baby formula, and the government regulatory folks’ reaction: don’t release the names of the affected products or manufacturers–we don’t want a panic!

My reaction: make up a bunch of big stickers like the MPAA movie ratings banners to stick all over stores that sell baby formula (with or without melamine) calling out the obscenity of the situation. No parents or families admitted.