Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Performance Piece & Art Parti - January 21, 2009

Every year the massive crew of the Jo-Tel and its "affiliates" gather together to celebrate the top 15 songs of the year picked by music aficionado and critic, Shark (assisted this year by Johnny D). In correlation with the top 15 songs, 15 people are chosen to create an artistic representation of the song. This can be anything, literally anything. In the previous years I've done staple drawings, and frogs embedded in resin. Other people have done paintings and drawings, but this year things had to be taken up a notch. I felt the air grow thick with the feeling of hardened competition.

As I patiently awaited the song to be given to me by Shark, I already began to formulate what I had to do to stun the crowd. Finally, the moment arrived, and I was dumbstruck to find out my song was "Happy House," by The Juan Maclean. I had no idea who the hell these guys were (my ignorance), or what the song even sounded like. Below is the entire song from YouTube (let's hope the don't strip it):

So, what I thought was going to be an incredibly dreary and horse sounding indie song ended up being quite an interesting piece. Actually, it was kinda epic. An epic song needs and epic representation of it, and the only way I thought to truly bring justice to such a fantastically orchestrated piece was via a combination of performance art, sculpture, and audience involvement.

I devised a plan. It would involve frozen brains, a gas mask, skulls, glow sticks, riot style dancing, and minimal amounts of destruction. The only portion of this piece that involved any construction of a physical object were the brains. I had this brain mold, which was perfect to make the brains. I ended up constructing a frozen red brain and blue brain, to represent a multiplicty of things (happy vs. sad, logical vs. "thinkative", fast vs. slow, good vs. evil, etc). For the performance, I dawned a gask mask and a wool skull cap, in addition to a flickering red bike light. It had the appearance of being more than distrubing. Here is the recap of the schedule. I won't go into much detail about the actual performance, because like most "good" art, it's hard to describe to someone.

0:00 - 1:35 > music gets quiet
put on mask & skull cap
walk down to the back stairs to the back yard

1:35 - 2:10 > music quiets down again, then picks back up

2:10 - 3:10 > head into backyard
turn on lights, which are placed on chairs
bring out brains
"demonstrate" brains
place brains on chairs
smash brains one at a time

3:10 - 3:55 > vocals start
began awkward dance

3:55 - 4:00 > turn off lights on chairs

4:00 - 7:50 > run upstairs
turn on black lights
incite dance party

7:50 - 8:13 > head back downstairs when the music cools

8:13 - 8:40 > toss out glowsticks one by one into backyard everytime "space" is sung

8:55 - 11:00> dance with glowsticks

11:00 - 11:30> toss away glowsticks

11:30 - END > lay down

Despite some small mishaps during the performance (lack of music not being loud enough during the dance party & losing my headphones), the piece was very well recieved. I can't imagine what I'll do next year.

I wish I had pictures to share, but alas, I do not.

1 comment:

Shark said...

Nice recap. I would like to emphasize that the "incite dance party" part was totally awesome. The Juan Maclean would have been so honored!

Also, anyone who wants to listen to the mix of the top 15 songs (done by Johnny D and I), go here: