You are asked to participate in a dance exercise. The prompt is simple. You and a partner will be using the basic materials of the human body and memory. You will shut your eyes, as the other partner holds you, guiding you as you walk backwards. As you are walking backwards, eyes shut, you are telling the partner about a room, your bedroom, turning that private moment into a shared space, a public space. The setting of your private bedroom enfolds through your blind steps backwards:
“The room is warm. There are wooden floors, a wooden bed frame sits in the corner adjacent to the door, beside a large window. There is a sullen brown teddy bear resting on the bed upon two cream pillows. Propped and place inanimate object. There’s a stack of books beside the bed, a towering theme of sexuality, love, and poetics: “Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties”, Anne Carson’s “Eros”, Michel Foucault’s “History of Sexuality”, and Marquis de Sade’s “Juliette.” The bed is made but sloppily as if I left it too quickly, not wanting to return. Beside the bed are more books, a pen, a piece of paper with remnants of writing, and glass of water gone unsipped from the night before. ”
“Have you seen my privacy”, a one-night exhibition, of installation and performances, explores the question if privacy still exists and, like the exercise above, blurs the boundaries of public and private, activating these ambiguous boundaries into experiential arrangements. Further the curators, Marco Franco Di Domenico and Tony Banuelos, are trying to question when and if privacy occurs can we also turn off our respective mental capacities towards the art world, the critical world, the poetic world, the technological world, and the public world; or are we constantly colliding between the gray area of these two spheres, public and private, nestled in between a continuum:
“Our space exists in a state of flux, sometimes private often public: the most public parts in the space can easily become private while the most private things can become far too public. We can’t resist this. We invite this. For this event we have invited several artists to interrogate this indeterminate space. Gallery meets bedroom. Private conversation becomes a street scene, a traffic jam. Spaces collapse, and dishes even, into one with a collective hum. From an observation deck you can see what is ours, and what’s ours is yours.”
Concord Space, already an artist-run experimental venue that produces a literary publication and residency program, pushed the already present establishment as a live-work space into a dizzying carnival of intimate segregated happenings dispersed into bedrooms and collective participatory work occupying living rooms overlapping spaces into a circle of ours and yours turned to all.
The exhibition’s entrance through a reductive state of a bedroom, a cubed box fit just for a bed, culls up notions of intimacy as each guest is flung to dirty the sheets of the bed, whether jump, crawl, linger or climb through the unexpected entryway of Eirik Schmertmann’s piece “You need not worry about your future. 9 62 13 4”.
Questions of what really can be left private any more dangle in your ears as artist Sarah Peterson invokes her “Consecration Vibration Sensation”, three minutes of group humming, turning the vulnerability of a private act into the art of public sharing. The vibrational magic of a simple gesture is felt and carries on into the night as Keith Rocka Knittel teaches a more combustive buzz in his kitchen demonstration piece “How to Make Smoke Bombs.”
The removal of public/private boundaries was echoed with the technological eye and how our social web presences have become imbedded with our real world interactions at times becoming the same as can be seen in Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal’s piece “The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)” where we voyeuristically watch the artist from a U-stream feed of her inside a hotel room in New York, drinking, ordering, room service, texting, flirtatious parading around the room, while reading hotel theory. The artist’s non-physical presence creates a public web presence that we all can revel at from a safe distance of the unknowing gaze that is the internet.
Everything from the entrance to the removed-door bathroom was a riddle of engagement and a constant hinting at the fulfillment of the forbidden, the allusions of private movements turned into theatrical and performative displays. And at the end of the evening, you leave the same way you entered, through the bedroom, dirtying the sheets, living your marks, your secrets, your impressions with the sheets. But, in the end, it can never all be private and it can never all be public.
“Have you seen my privacy?” at Concord Space, Los Angeles. Friday April 19th, 2013. For more information visit here.
-Contributed by Brigitte Nicole Grice