U nn o ticed Ar t Fra n s van Le nt
Frans van Lent – Unnoticed Art
-55 Unnoticed Art Festival 57
Frans van Lent – Three Positions
Artists, performers and staﬀ, others
You are now a member of a very small group. The number of people who will hold a copy of this book will be limited. Three hundred copies of this book were printed , and a large part of this edition will probably end up in bookcases without drawing much attention. In a way this book seems to be designed to resist attention. It only contains texts, no illustrations. Its spine is thin, in black and white, and without any markings. On a bookshelf it will go almost unnoticed between the other books. This book does not want to distinguish itself. In our present time passing unnoticed is a very recognisable experience. Although the popularity of social media demonstrates our aim for a few minutes of fame, in fact it emphasises the impossibility of this. We can share an experience with friends, with equal minds, but it will only be noticed by that limited group, undetected by the rest of the world. To pass unnoticed is the defining notion of the Unnoticed Art Festival. It embraces the fact that genuine engagement will be limited to a small group of those involved. I assume that, because of not being perceived by others, because of this public privacy, the performer will experience the connection with the work and with the group more intense.
In a Train The work In a Train * (20) was an experiment on the possibilities of co-operation. The work was carried out in a train, driving at 200 km/hrs., between Amsterdam and Berlin. I asked five travel companions to join me in the performance. In a Train was set-up as a simple structure for six performers: nothing more than a series of obvious movements that follow a prepared schedule. The performance was carried out exactly as planned, without attracting the attention of other train passengers. In the essay Three Positions later in this book, I wrote: ’In this work there were two diﬀerent audiences: firstly my travel companions, who were involved in the work by executing it and who, by doing this, perceived it in the most physical way. And secondly the other passengers in their seats, staring out of the window or reading. This group is unaware of the performance and is not involved in it. I realised that the unawareness of this second group had an important function in the process: it isolated and defined the first group, the participants. It turned these six into an actual team, they shared an experience. In a way, I pulled the ‘spectators’ into the performance, invited them to join, to share responsibility’.
Before In A Train, my - solo - performances were carried out in isolation only to be witnessed by a video camera. The audience observed the work at another time, in another space, and through another medium. With this transition, the work seemed to change its character, to turn into something else. I searched for alternatives to alter this asymmetric relation between performer and spectator. Now, in this performance I turned the performers into spectators, and the spectators into performers, literally pulling them into the experience.
Unnoticed Art Festival A while after In a Train the idea arose to use the same basis for a more ambitious plan. In various blogs and on websites I published an open call for concepts. This resulted in seventy artists sending in their proposals. A small committee of five artists selected thirty-four concepts to compose a festival programme. After that, I published a second open call for volunteers to perform the works. Finally, we were able to put together a group of forty performers and contributing members. In a sunny weekend in mid-May 204, this group successfully carried out the Unnoticed Art Festival in the city of Haarlem. The first advantage of separating the concept from its realisation was that this allowed artists from all over the world to take part. Physical distance would be of no consequence. The second (and maybe more important) advantage was that the performers (volunteers) did not know the artists, and vice versa. This created a more open attitude. The performers could, within certain boundaries, interpret and influence the concepts, either individually or as a group. By accepting this construction the artists handed over some aspects of authorship. The format was based on mutual trust. Both the artists and the participants had to accept and respect each other’s approaches, and the other’s integrity. Often the performances had to be executed by inexperienced volunteers and without any rehearsals. For that reason we asked the artists to send us their written concepts in the form of a clear set of instructions, a kind of manual. The location of the festival was kept a secret until the very end. By doing so, the work would not be emphasised as an event, either by an enthusiastic audience on the side or by the presence of documenting cameras. For inexperienced performers, going unnoticed guaranteed them a certain anonymity and, by that, a certain latitude.
Documentation We did not make any visual documentation. A later presentation of the performance on photo or video would recreate the distance, the asynchronicity between performer and spectator.
We chose to document the performances in an altogether diﬀerent way. As the festival concept was very much focused on personal experiences, we asked the participants to write their responses immediately after having finished their performances. Through personal descriptions, we hoped to make their experiences more tangible. The concepts in this book are quite diﬀerent regarding aims and attitudes. Many artists responded to our call for works, and their motives varied widely. We chose to select a programme that contained a range of approaches. What connects these artists is their appreciation for the notion of the unnoticed. Frans van Lent Dordrecht, October 204
)* In a train Group action Participants: Adriana Ramirez, Hiroomi Horiuchi, Sebastian Gonzalez de Gortari, Eduarda Estrella, Sobia Zaidi, Frans van Lent. Instruction for participants: Be as inconspicuous as possible! All participants go to the rear entrance of the train (starting-point). It starts with a (ﬁrst) person walking slowly into the ﬁrst coach, as if looking around for a convenient place to sit. He ﬁnds a place somewhere in the ﬁrst coach (when no seats are available just stand and wait in front of the toilets). After the ﬁrst person started, the second one counts to 60 and then follows him, walking in the same direction. He passes the ﬁrst one and ﬁnds a place in the second coach (or at least out of sight of the ﬁrst one). When the second one leaves the third one starts counting and then starts walking. He passes the ﬁrst and the second one, ﬁnds a place out of sight of the second one and so on. The sixth person goes to the end of the train, but will not ﬁnd the right place to sit. Then he walks back, still as slowly and searching as before. When the sixth one again passed the ﬁfth one, the ﬁfth one waits another 60 seconds and then follows him walking back slowly, again looking around. When the ﬁfth person passed the fourth waits another 60 seconds and starts also walking back and so on. Finally everybody returned to the starting point. End of performance. In a train (driving full speed towards Berlin) 15 March 2013
U n no t i ced Ar t Fe sti va l Ha a r le m, 7/ M ay 20 4
5 Adem (Breath) Steef van Lent (BRD) Anonymous Self Portraits Jonathon Keats (USA) A City Dance Lilla Magyari (HUN) 20 Attitude Kees Koomen (NLD) 2 Coming Soon / The Unknown Joke van Kerkwijk (NLD) 22 Coact Jess Rose (GBR) 24 Couch Grass Edwin Stolk (NLD) 25 Doors Joshua Schwebel (CAN) 2 Digital Conversations Gretta Louw (AUS)
27 A Great Australian Wave Janet Meaney (AUS) 2 I Live Here Gavin James Krastin (ZAF) 0 An Improvised Route 1 & 2 Frans van Lent (NLD) 2 I Suspect it’s a Self-portrait Hiroomi Horiuchi (JPN) IT Joyce Overheul (NLD) 4 Moon David Horvitz (USA) 5 Muslima Margreet Kramer (NLD) Shift Derek Dadian-Smith (USA)
7 One Dozen Instructions Instruction # 3 Craig Damrauer (USA) Oeps (Oops) Daan den Houter (NLD) Paper Boats Mr and Mrs Gray (NLD) 40 Portraits Tim Miller (GBR) 42 Punten (Dots) Linda Hesh (USA) 4 Schreeuw (Scream) Roekoe M (NLD) 44 Staan voor Paal (Pole Position) Topp en Dubio (NLD) 45 Steef Sarah Boulton (GBR) 4 Standing Piece Julie Rozman (USA)
47 Tekening (Drawing) Jeroen Jongeleen (NLD) 4 Surveillance Performance Dino Dinco ((USA) 50 Thought Nico Parlevliet (NLD) 5 Two Men Whispering Malin Peter (SWE) 52 Unnoticed Soundworks Andrew NcNiven (GBR) 5 Walking with Chairs Ienke Kastelein (NLD) 54 We and Your Playlist Year 2014 Rafael Abreu Canedo (BRA) 55 White Space #2 Marnik Neven (BEL)
Adem (Breath) Steef van Lent
Two performers walk toward each other from a pre-set distance. As they start oﬀ, they take a deep breath, and continue to hold that breath until they have passed each other. After passing the performers can start breathing again, but have to continue to walk further until their breathing has stabilized. When their breath returns to normal the performance stops. The key issue of all these motions is to control. When the performers breathe and start walking, this should not be a great eﬀort. It should be completely controlled and inconspicuous. The bystanders are not to know. The same goes for the point at which the performers can exhale. They must resist the urge to gasp for air and control the feeling of being out of breath. These fluctuations, these rhythms of breathing should only be experienced by the performers themselves.
Hiroomi: Location: Train station, during a ﬁre alarm. I could vaguely see him coming my way. We could not pass each other at the pre-set point. I exhaled. I thought I might be walking a little too fast because I couldn’t hold my breath. Possibly because the passageway in the station was ﬁlled with smoke that had not been there when we rehearsed. I smelled smoke when I started breathing. I was not sure if I could control my behaviour while I was holding my breath. However, I thought I might be seen as a person who tried not to inhale the smoke.
Anonymous Self Portraits Jonathon Keats I propose to sculpt a series of a dozen self-portraits by altering the diet of twelve persons to coincide with my own. Over a period of several weeks leading up to the two-day Unnoticed Art Festival, the twelve people providing the raw sculptural materials (i.e. their living bodies) will receive a daily email – distributed by the festival organizers – revealing everything I have ingested and instructing them to do the same on the following day. The substances they consume will sculpt them through the process of digestion. Of course each of these twelve participants will be genetically distinct. For this reason, the sculpture specified by my eating habits will be diﬀerently interpreted by the DNA of each person: the form uniquely shaped according to each person's unique genome. My diet might make one person fat or emaciate another. In addition to metabolic distinctions, diﬀerences in personality will inevitably play a role, since one person might follow the menus strictly, whereas someone else might substitute some foods for more locally available alternatives, and a third might simply ignore the instructions and lie about what they have eaten. In other words, the dozen examples of my self-portrait will be as diverse as the participating population of men, women and children. And because participants will not identify themselves, even I will not be able to recognize my self-portrait. For the two days of the festival – in which absolutely nothing will be required of the participants except for going about their own businesses – anyone could be part of the version. And afterward, as the participants’ original eating customs resume, the version will gradually vanish. Production Note: Both the duration of this project and the number of participants are negotiable. For the Unnoticed Art Festival the duration was one week and the number of participants ﬁve. An example of the menus used: Menu #4 ( May 204): :45 AM: coﬀee with milk, 2:0 PM: 2 sandwiches with pickled mackerel and tomatoes, a half raw fennel, an orange, coﬀee with milk. 5:00 PM: Earl Grey tea. :00 PM: gnocchi with pesto, a half raw fennel, dark beer, an orange, a nectarine.
Safanja: I experienced this project as a laboratory, a playing ﬁeld for experiments with food, recipes, measurements, and the shifting of daily schedules. It was not possible to follow the menus in
detail because my work hours and the intensity of my work did not allow to do so. There was just too much diﬀerence in culture. On the other hand, during the weekend I really enjoyed having a guide in this culinary world, leading me where I would otherwise never go. And sometimes it meant surprises, small culinary presents. Most nights beer was on the menu, and I concluded that, even though the recipes clearly came from an Italian source of inspiration, the artist probably did not live in that country. Nico: At ﬁrst I felt a bit of resistance to some unknown person telling me what to eat for breakfast, but this completely changed later. The fact that I had to follow his instructions got me out of my daily routine and made me feel like being in a completely diﬀerent environment. Because the menus were clearly Italian and the artist was obviously not, and because of these new scents and eating habits, I became a kind of tourist in my own house. I was unusually focused on the power of smell and taste. As the menus stopped when the festival started, the experience of being in another environment became even stronger. Ton: Day 1. Had the coﬀee. Sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes. In the evening a salad in the spirit of the menu. Anyway I had apple strudel that tasted delicious. Instead of grappa I took a different spirits. The concept makes me reﬂect on the speciﬁc qualities of the artist’s chosen material. In general, material does not always behave like the artist wants or expects. In this case the artist’s material (me) is something in possession of devotion and concentration but sometimes also has a lack of that. According to the manual I am allowed to lie about following the artist’s prescriptions, but is that necessary? Day 4. I had breakfast, bread and cheese, coﬀee. At night pasta instead of gnocchi. The project puts me in a state in which I constantly have to balance between following orders, speaking the truth and lying about my behaviour. So far, I have not felt much of the intended sensation. At some moment I think it had better be conceptualized the other way round with the artist following the orders of his audience or his volunteers in an attempt to get closer to them. Day 6 and Day 7. These days I have not been able to focus on the menus, partly because of being too busy with my own projects. In general I can say that some days I have eaten a little bit ‘in the spirit’ of the menus, but overall I may have failed in fulﬁlling the tasks and orders. I am sure most of the meals would have been nice to eat. However, I did not really expect that by eating I would turn into the artist’s self-portrait , so somehow the concept has failed to convince me to follow its orders. Anyway, in this sense it would cost much eﬀort by its followers to overcome a certain disbelief.
A City Dance Lilla Magyari
The city dance is practised in groups of about five persons. Participants do not need any previous training in dance or choreography. Everyone should have a device (e.g. mobile phone) which can be used to alert the start of each stage. During the practise, the participants do not speak unless necessary. Stage : Solo walking in a group – 0 minutes Start to walk in the city with your group. Do not try to reach any particular destination, but walk into the direction you feel like, without losing contact with your group. Allow yourself to be open to your environment. Stop if you need to, stop at shop windows if you see something interesting. While you are aware of what is going on around you, also open your attention to the following tasks: Observe the sounds you hear! Be aware of the noise of the cars, people speaking, the noise of footsteps on the street... Observe how your body feels while you walk. Be aware of how it feels when your feet touch the ground, how your clothes feel on your skin, how you hold your hands, how you shape your muscles to make each step. Observe yourself walking. What are your rhythm and speed? When and why do you stop? Where do you look when you walk? At what distance from the walls do you walk? Change the rhythm, try out spaces for just standing still. Be playful and discover. Let your walk and moments of standing be inspired by the moment you experience. Discover the walk you enjoy taking. Stage 2: Walking together with the group - 0 minutes When your alarm sounds, expand your awareness to the others in your group. While you are still enjoying the city around you and you are enjoying your own walk, notice how the others in your group walk. Do they have a diﬀerent rhythm? Are they far away or near you? The others also become aware of you walking. How does your walk relate to the others’ walk in rhythm, shape and style? Let them influence the choices you make in your walk. Open yourself to the possibility of an emerging dialogue between your movements and the others’ moments of walking and standing. Stage : Walking together with strangers - 0 minutes When your alarm rings again (second time), start to observe how strangers walk and stand on the street. They are not aware of you walking or standing, but you can be aware of them. Include them in your walk-stand dialogue, passing unnoticed. If it is possible, try this stage out in shops as well. In shops, people often stand, walk a bit and stand again, oﬀering you plenty of opportunities to move with them.
Georg: While expanding our ways of moving and simultaneously changing into bigger gestures, trying to communicate with the uninvolved crowd, everything got more and more intense. We walked into a shop and started to rhythmically imitate the others’ way of searching for clothes. It has been quite an interesting new way of experiencing the impact of movement in crowded places. Ton: Interesting to notice that after participating I was looking diﬀerently at people moving in the city. It felt like a newly written choreography.
Attitude Kees Koomen
Under the name Attitude, I thoroughly mopped about one square meter of the field (soil, grass) of the Malieveld in The Hague. In this case, the intention is that a person walks around with a bucket of water in a fairly busy area of the city with its various pieces of tile, asphalt, paving, grass, and to mop them until the bucket is empty!
Yvo: I wore an overall. I used a brush. I was obviously recognised as somebody working for the municipality. I got some nice and funny remarks about my work and outďŹ t, but nobody seemed to doubt my oďŹ&#x192;cial status. I started to clean a square meter with a chalk drawing in it, but then somebody asked me not to do that. It happened to be part of the signs of an (other) art festival.
Coming Soon / The Unknown Joke van Kerkwijk
Removable vinyl stickers to be randomly stuck in public spaces by all participants. When QR-scanning the sticker the text COMING SOON appears on the display of the smartphone, which transforms by means of animation into THE UNKNOWN!! See: www.unnoticedartfestival.com/vankerkwijk
Nico: For the stickers I used spots where other people already put stickers , I felt a bit uneasy doing so. But nobody around seemed to bother.
Coact Jess Rose
For this piece, the act of taking photographs produces both the performance and the performance document. I'm interested in revealing the presence of the performer through the images they have captured themselves; in following these instructions, their physicality and subjectivity will be revealed to a certain extent. It is likely that this series of actions will go unnoticed; to see a person exploring a place through a lens is to be expected. The volunteer will require one disposable camera, and has to perform the following 27 tasks: Take a photograph from the ground Take a photograph of a person who walks ahead of you Take a photograph of a person who walks behind you Take a photograph at armâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s length Take a photograph of a blonde Take a photograph with your eyes closed Take a photograph from chest level Take a photograph of a word or words Take a photograph of people holding hands Take a photograph of something you are sure you'll remember Take a photograph from the highest place you can reach Take a photograph from the most comfortable place you can find Take a photograph of the time Take a photograph of a cigarette Take a photograph of a conversation Take a photograph of a reflection Take a photograph of something or someone that turns you on Take a photograph of a photograph Take a photograph of music Take a photograph as you drop the camera Take a photograph of the weather Take a photograph over your shoulder Take a photograph from a hidden place Take a photograph as you jump Take a photograph looking up Take a photograph looking down Take a photograph of someone looking at you 22
Maria: Shots with a disposable camera are innocent and playful – you’re just playing around with a relic that is slowly going out of use. I did enjoy the list itself – being someone who wants to explore photography, it was interesting to be guided by a concept rather than just trying to ﬁnd something visually pleasing. With commands such as: take a shot of someone behind you, in front of you, from high up and down below, I felt like I was being trained to move through space with this tool in my hand. It was a new way of moving that made me more comfortable with the idea of keeping the camera with you, as a part of yourself. 2
Couch Grass Edwin Stolk
The title Couch Grass is symbolic and refers to the common and invasive weed. Couch grass is a perennial grass which rapidly spreads by rhizomes (underground stems). From its tips, in spring and autumn new shoots grow that quickly produce tufts of leaves and more rhizomes... Couch Grass is a group performance of nine youngsters, loitering around one weekend in the public space of the Haarlem city centre. Each youngster prepared a subject of their interest and while the people in the streets might have stigmatized their presence, they shared their knowledge horizontally. Information that might have changed their future perspectives. Eveline: Day 1: First we went into the supermarket to buy some stuﬀ to help us get into our part. Crisps, beer, orange juice and candy. …There was another group of youngsters and we noticed that they carried about the same attributes with them as we did. … I noticed that for the most part people over 50 at the terrace opposite us were watching this phenomenon. It felt like we had an audience. Day 2: I think we paid way too little attention to playing a role of kids that are hanging around. This was a better strategy than the day before, because we had deeper and more enthusiastic conversations. We started playing roles that we left out on Sunday. What was quite funny this day was that while we were thinking less about playing the role of a group of kids hanging around, some people literally referred to us as such a group. Marlot: As we, as a group, developed a better understanding for the concept, and felt more sophisticated in our performance, we gradually discovered more of the other participants in the performance, being both audience and performer and feeling enriched in our view on each other and all kinds of diﬀerent subjects. Mickey: It was nice to see how other people looked at us. Some really hate youngsters loitering around, they mistrust them or are even afraid of them. They should actually talk to them. Most of these youngsters are quite nice. When we walked back to the camping site, we passed a ‘real’ group of loitering youngsters. They shouted something we did not understand. We turned back and started talking to them. It was a nice and friendly conversation.
Doors Joshua Schwebel
The project I have in mind extends an ongoing fixation on doors. Simply, the work involves holding doors open. To enact the work, enter a commercial space – a shop, a restaurant, a convenience store, even an institutional public space such as a library, sports centre, or health centre. Part one: Stand near the doorway. When someone wants to pass through the door, open it, and then continue to hold the door open as long as possible. Make sure to position your body within the doorway rather than behind the door, so your body obstructs and constrains the space of passage. If someone asks you to leave, do so, otherwise remain standing in the doorway. To be clear, this piece is not about holding doors open for people, it is about holding doors open to hold spaces open and to exacerbate the division between private and public. Part two: If you see a doorstop, steal it.
Jeroen and Carmen: The performance presented us with a diﬃculty. We had been searching for quite a while to ﬁnd a place with doors to open. The thing we noticed is that in this Dutch city - actually in all Dutch cities - doors of shops and public places are already open, often locked in place so you can't move them. Or they are automatically revolving doors, so no doorstopper in sight either. We found the Hema (a convenience store) which had three doors in a row of which the one in the middle was opened. The two on the side were closed. But when we held the ones on the sides open, the public just picked the middle door to enter the building. Eventually we found a church with a small entrance and a gate which could be opened and closed. So we closed the gates, opened them again and then positioned ourselves on both sides of the gate. As the gateway was quite small, it resembled the performance of Ulay/Abramovich a bit, because the space through which the public could pass was very small. But the Dutch culture isn't one of protesting publicly. So we got quite a few annoyed looks, but mostly people greeted us curtly as if we were part of the scene, like a doorman. The performance was great fun to do, especially watching the reactions.
Digital Conversations Gretta Louw
The performance involves three pairs of participants entering the same café at the same time, each with a mobile internet device. The individuals in each pair should be not know each other. The performers order their drinks and wait in silence for them to arrive. The duration of each performance is one hour from the time the drinks arrive at the table. Each pair will attempt to communicate via a predetermined technologically mediated method, seeking to break through the set limitations in some way - but without breaking the rules - in order to learn something about their partner. The first pair will communicate only using the answers supplied by the online AI chat robot ‘cleverbot’. The performers think of a sentence they would like to say to their partner and type this into the cleverbot chat window: the answer that the bot provides will be what they say out loud in 'conversation' with their partner. The second pair will communicate using only tweets posted to the Twitter platform. They may choose a search term or phrase to enter into the Twitter database and must then say out loud to their partner the first tweet that is listed under the search results. The third pair will communicate using the predictive search results of the Google search engine. For each sentence that they would like to say to their conversation partner, they will take the first three words and enter these into the Google search field; the first predictive search result that the Google platform suggests will be what they read out in 'conversation' with their partner. Note: the performers changed the concept. Heekyung: The location originally planned for this performance was XO café, but we decided to follow the sun and start the performance at another bar. Actually, since all three of us couldn’t clearly understand the exact rules of Digital Conversations, we started to do a conversation using the Whatsapp application. At that moment we met for the ﬁrst time, so we introduced ourselves, asking and answering questions, and learning about each other. We were texting with phones, even though we were sitting very close together at the same table. It is a very diﬀerent experience, talking and having eye contact or chatting on the Internet. Even though we could ask each other directly of course, we now had to wait to type the questions or to read the answers from the other. This waiting was the most exciting part. We continued until my battery was dead. Bo: We agreed not to speak at all. People around were clearly rejecting our unsocial behaviour. It was nice to do. It would have been nicer to do it with even more people in a longer line. 2
A Great Australian Wave Janet Meaney
The work consists of a series of short sharp hand actions made in front of and around the face. -Standing in a square or other public space, participants will raise the right hand in front of the left shoulder, with the palm facing left. They will then swipe the hand including lower arm upwards and back across the face, stopping abruptly as the hand passes the right perimeter of the face. -Other participants will raise the right hand with palm facing left. Then, swivelling the hand forward till the fingers point towards the chest, swivel the hand back outwards and then forwards again, virtually fanning the face. -Others will raise the right hand in front of the face and flip the fingers vigorously inwards toward the face and back out again keeping the forearm stationary -Still others will swipe the right hand above the crown of the head. Wait and repeat the action in five minute intervals. These actions are known to Australians colloquially as The Great Australian Wave and readily acknowledged as such. To others however, these actions may appear to be those of a madman or simply be ignored as a twitch, whereas in fact it is the signatory hand movement used to casually at times and voraciously at others, ward oﬀ bush flies that left to their own devices would land and stick to the skin of the face or on the hair or both. Indeed, any area of broken skin or scab acts as a magnet for these flies that will stick to it in bunches evading swipes and at times require a full handed swat to kill it. These actions, in their peculiarity and seen outside their context (without the flies) could be characterised as larrikinism - the ability of one to behave unconventionally in the face of practicality regardless of where and with whom one is situated. In this way the actions, by mimicking life, are art and may go ‘unnoticed’. Unnoticed in their madness and unnoticed as natural acts in Australian society. Art by being out of context. See also: www.unnoticedartfestival.com/meaney.
Maria: We used the wave as a greeting for everyone in the festival group. I think it was really eﬀective in bringing the group together, as a sort of insiders’ secret. It is such a fast hand action that it kind of looks like an involuntary movement. With the whole group doing it I think it adds more meaning. Australians make this gesture probably fairly often, if not daily. For us it also became part of our everyday life during the festival. 27
I Live Here Gavin James Krastin
When shopping, we all perform and test our potential purchases, and we notice this in others too. We will try on clothes, walk around in a pair of shoes we are considering buying, test out a bed by laying on it or a chair buy sitting on it or fiddle with a technological gadget to see if it meets one’s needs. We will even ‘construct’ and style our own living room on the showroom floor, to see if all the items match and work well together before committing to them, buying them and bringing them home. Similarly, we will visibly and performatively assemble outfits and consider food dishes and items while in the ‘nonplace’ store. We openly see this happen as we stroll down the aisles of a shop, but we don’t necessarily notice it as this behaviour is quite acceptable and normal: many shops even have specific and interactive infrastructure, samples, assistance and displays for this very reason. The concept is to push and stretch this idea to its maximum, to the almost ridiculous, but without being explicitly noticed – the participant still wants to pass oﬀ as an unassuming and casual shopper while taking the role to its limit. The task for the participants is to simply go about their normal day as they would at home (well, as much as they can), but taking into account that they are ‘living’ in a superstore and must go by unnoticed despite their visibility. For instance, such (mundane?) tasks would include curating a wall of the mass produced art in store, formally setting one of the dinner tables on display and then eat something, dribbling a ball down the aisles and score a goal, styling and modelling a collection of outfits, sleeping in a display bed, occupying furniture, piecing together a dream bedroom, folding and packing linens and towels, playing video games and working on a computer. Once committed to the tasks and immersed in the real environment the list of possibilities is endless. This live art/performance art work blurs the distinctions between private and public and plays with notions of visibility and noticeability, while also presenting performance as the mundane and as ‘the everyday’. It also oﬀers the participants/performers an experience of play, improvisation, adrenalin and strategy – the aim is to not get caught out. The work, as an act of a minor revolt or subtle infiltration, speaks to the politics of current spatial ownership, reclamation, trans-border crossing, occupancy, and the greedy consumer culture that such complex conflicts and debates often arise from – and, more importantly, personal agendas, desires and needs. Due to a lack of service delivery, in many countries, like South Africa, citizens boldly claim ‘non-places’ such as grass embankments, open fields and vacant lots as their own, where they set up house and establish and promote a community. It is the defiant reclamation of such ‘non-places’ that drive us as a society into this new world where citizens build
cities, and build them according to our own needs, unhinging abhorrent government prescription and agendas. I Live Here may not be at the same scale of such radical intervention, but it certainly follows the same trajectory: posing questions to authority, challenging conventional systems and locating ourselves in our spaces beyond the status quo.
Georg: (At IKEA) At ﬁrst there were not many people. The ones who were walking by my room seemed pretty focused on what they were searching for. The music which ﬂoated through the speakers wasn’t actually that bad. Maybe I should take my shoes oﬀ. Way better now. A family walking by gave me some strange “ok ok‘s” maybe because of my bare socks. My feelings seemed to be as ambivalent as those of the Dutch people walking by (as I was oscillating in between the relaxed enjoying of this soft sofa while also waiting in a suspensive kind of awareness for a certain reaction). They were not sure if they should react, or stay ‘professional’ and serious.
An Improvised Route 1 & 2 Frans van Lent
In the morning I walk an improvised route through the city, in the afternoon I walk exactly the same route again.
Lilla: Part 1: I chose the route to walk based on my curiosity. On my route I - also - found a church. The doors were open, so I walked in. Led by my curiosity, I walked up the stairs which were leading to the organ - although it was written that it was not allowed to go upstairs. But as there was no one around, and I was interested, so I took the stairs. When I came upstairs, someone suddenly appeared. We had a small chat, and he didn’t mind that I was looking around. Part 2: First, it appeared that I had a totally diﬀerent experience than in the ﬁrst walk. At the ﬁrst time, I was driven by my curiosity…now, I was more restricted, I could not follow my impulses. The church was closed, so I couldn’t go in. When I walked back to the station, I discovered shops, bars, which I seemed to have ignored totally during my ﬁrst walk. Maria: The thing about the Improvised Route is that the ﬁrst round is carefree: you follow your feet, or your nose, or the shade, or you try avoid that area...almost without thinking, the route is whatever you fancy at the moment. Although usually I can remember a path once I've walked it, it's a diﬀerent thing altogether when there is no 'goal' you're walking towards. So I was a bit anxious to see how my sense of direction would be put to the test during the second round. At some point in the second round, I found myself walking a way that I knew I had not walked before. I did not stray too far, though, since I recognized in about 50 meters that this was not the way I had walked before - so where did I go wrong? Then, I remembered that the ﬁrst time around I had crossed the street in the middle, not in a marked crossing path, or at the corner - but actually crossed through the middle of the road, and changed my walking direction. This made me think of how much easier it is to follow a path that is al ready set out for you (sidewalk, crossing points), than to remember a path that you 'made'
yourself. On an unmarked personal path, all there is to guide you are your memories and instincts, and you have to ignore the direction of the street itself, the way that would 'make sense' to follow. Hiroomi: Part 1: I left the train station. I passed through a gate on which thick vines grow. I found a red rose beside the gate. A man sitting near the gate was reading a book. There was a church on the way to a square. I liked a blue high lifting vehicle parked on a road. A fat prostitute on a back street glared at me through a window. A woman who also participated in this performance appeared from a corner. I followed her and went back to the station. Part 2: I left the station. I passed through a gate on which thick vines grow. The rose beside the gate was still red. A woman and a child sat where the man had been sitting. A nun was having a speech in front of the church. There was no blue high lifting vehicle on the road. The fat prostitute on the back street turned her back to the window and telephoned. I passed through the corner. I saw the woman who also participated in this performance follow me.
I Suspect it’s a Self-portrait Hiroomi Horiuchi
This is a re-enactment of the action of taking the picture, New York City, by Lee Friedlander in a slightly diﬀerent setup. Friedlander’s shadow is projected on the woman’s back in the picture. His appearance can be seen as that of a stalker, which reminds us of the secretive nature of street photography. I made an instruction that tells a performer to take the same picture. See also: www.unnoticedartfestival.com/horiuchi.
Nico: When everybody is walking in a clear direction it is not that diﬃcult to follow someone. But when I approached a couple who were talking and I made a picture, the man noticed me, grabbed my arm and asked me what I was doing. I said: ‘I am taking a photo of a shadow.’ He told me angrily to quit:’ You were taking a photo of my girlfriend.’ The performance really had an arousing eﬀect on me, the sexual connotation is also an aggressive connotation. It created a certain recklessness. Jeroen and Carmen: At the end of the day we met Nico fully engaged in his performance I suspect it's a self-portrait. He was engaged to such an extent, in photographing his own shadow on young ladies, that he almost got himself into a ﬁght with one of the boyfriends. We tried to calm him down, and it took some persuasion to convince him that there was no harm in someone taking pictures of his girlfriend from very close by.
IT Joyce Overheul
The performance consists of a group of ordinary looking people, all staring at a certain point in public space. There will be nothing particular to see over there (literally). However, passers-by can’t help noticing the group’s behaviour, and in all cases the passers-by joined staring at that what was not there, the ‘it’. By doing that they become part of the group of performers, the line between who’s performing and who isn’t fades. The larger the group will become, the more people will join and the process will repeat itself.
Maria: At ﬁrst there was some uncertainty within the group. How do you choose an arbitrary ‘spot’ to focus on? The ﬁrst time took longer and we were all unsure exactly where to look so we compensated by standing a long time. The second time we stopped we looked over the bridge down at the water. Looking for some elusive sea creature. A little girl ran up to join us and called out to her mother: ’Mom, I don’t know what we are supposed to be looking at.’ That was the highlight for me. In the centre square of the town we looked up at the sky in the direction of the church. People assumed we were tourists, so I think we didn’t draw much attention. It was hard to stop myself from looking back or around to check if people were attracted to our game. So it was a good trick when we were peered into an empty building and in the reﬂection I could see the people behind me passing and (some) turning around to look. Hiroomi: I tried to look at something they were looking at. I noticed everyone who seemed to be looking in the same direction was looking in slightly diﬀerent directions. Almost the same, but not exactly the same. Sometimes they were also looking at other people who were looking at something. It was hollow. A person passing in front of me was looking in the same direction.
Moon David Horvitz
For a period of time, in the night, a group of people will walk through the city in the direction of the moon in the sky. This should be done before or after the moon is directly overhead. There should be at least six people.
This performance was cancelled due to atmospheric conditions.
Muslima Margreet Kramer
The performance involves two women. They should be dressed in traditional Muslim attire. The women will be walking together in the city centre, talking to each other. They can visit a cultural institute, like a museum or gallery etc. The personal theme of this performance is the vulnerability of human beings, and the possible wish or need for a second skin as a result of this vulnerability.
Petra: People are staring: mostly the women. It feels like my face is naked. And I’m more comfortable than I had expected. It’s risky. People keep more distance. Sometimes when people reacted positively I felt guilty – I am just acting. Margreet: My dress felt like a second skin, very comfortable. I can hide my whole body. And when I covered my head – there was more distance between me and the people. Reactions: one woman in a second hand shop had a nice poem about a head scarf. I read it aloud (from a mobile phone) in the shop. Nice! People behave politely, but I feel like I’m not welcome.
Shift Derek Dadian-Smith
Find a stretch of sidewalk or pavement with plenty of interesting features, for example: cracks, gum, trash, leaves, etc. Next to each feature of the sidewalk, draw a duplicate of that feature with white chalk. Shift each duplicate at the same angle and same distance from its original, as if the earth has rotated slightly and left behind a white chalk shadow of everything on the sidewalk. When several people are doing this, it is best to spread out so each person has plenty of space in which to work. Act like it's your job. Don't be too creative. Don't draw attention to yourself. Try to do it in a way that seems as if you are acting in an oﬃcial capacity. The hardest part will be if someone asks you what you are doing. If you can, describe what you are doing without giving a reason for it. In your head, think about the reason that you are doing this. If you come up with a good reason, let me know.
Mickey: People asked us what we were doing. We answered that we were just copying shapes. We invited them to join us and some did…
One Dozen Instructions Instruction # 3 Craig Damrauer The viewer is asked to find a bar in a part of town that you simply donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go to. On a Saturday just before noon, the viewer is then asked to go in and to take a seat somewhere in the middle of the bar. After the third drink start talking to everybody and tell them gigantic, colossal, fabulous lies. Really make a thing out of it. Be that person.
Steef: During this performance I found out how easy the complete lie can be. To become another character is a shift that is much easier than a short, implemented lie. You start to believe yourself quite quickly and change into this person. I found it tempting to go back to this place in a while, and revive the character. It seems a waste to lose this person. I think the concept was to make the lie obvious, and in that sense I failed, or rather, changed the idea. I liked the possibility of my lies. I could be that person.
Oeps (Oops) Daan den Houter
An accident: a person walks along the waterside (a canal, a pond) in a crowded area and then suddenly falls into the water. Creating a small drama, he swims back to the side and climbs out, with or without the help of bystanders. The actor stays in his role: ’I don’t know what happened, I just slipped in,’ he walks away.
Yvo: It was diﬃcult to make the incident seem accidental. The falling happens really quickly. I cried out ’Shit’ just before I fell in and I then completely disappeared under water for a moment. Nobody really responded to my fall. I climbed out of the water, soaking wet, and walked away dripping. Many people looked somewhat puzzled but nobody said anything.
Paper Boats Mr and Mrs Gray
A bucket full of little paper boats to be placed everywhere in the city during the festival, at places where people normally leave their trash.
Mr and Mrs Gray: It was fun to do, sort of graﬃti, we're adding something to the scenery. So we tried to do it unnoticed, to not get caught in the act. As they were tiny boats, no-one saw us placing our boats, even if we left them at counters of shops. We are wondering if weeks from now someone will ﬁnd a little boat on their counter or window-sill and wonder how this little boat has ended up there.
Portraits Tim Miller
During this performance, individuals do not only take pictures of objects or scenes of beauty themselves, but occasionally ask individuals they otherwise do not know, to take pictures of them within a desired context. For the Unnoticed Arts Festival I propose that participants ask members of the public to take photographs of themselves, using a script I have developed from my experiences. This script highlights the phenomena or unnoticed social transactions, allowing participants to act out but also rewrite the script. Through rewriting the script, participants may alter the social transactions asking for a variety of photographs to be taken, directing the ‘public photographers’. By requesting their photograph to be taken with a slight variation, participants can control how noticed or unnoticed the performance becomes. See also: www.unnoticedartfestival.com/miller
Portraits - Performance Structure . Participants of the Unnoticed Arts Festival will be supplied with a script, transcribed from my personal experience of being asked to take photographs of individuals at tourist destinations. 2. This script will define that basic social transaction or performance. . Participants will be asked to follow the script, asking members of the public to take one photograph of them within a chosen context. 4. Participants will also be asked to rewrite the script, requesting people take photographs of them in diﬀerent ways. 5. The photographs taken must be saved as evidence of an unnoticed performance.
Heekyung: I tried this one with Hiroomi. We both are from Asia, so I guess we might deﬁnitely seem like tourists to the people we asked to take a picture of us. But, actually Hiroomi is from Japan and I’m from Korea. Since we didn’t have the text with us at the location, we set up some circumstances to perform. I was interested in setting up various kinds of situations. I wanted us each moment to be in a diﬀerent situation ; for example, pointing at something unobserved in the town, standing beside art pieces in the gallery, also taking a picture with other people together. Our relationship might look diﬀerent in each picture depending on our - Hiroomi and I - facial expressions or distance in the picture, though I’m not sure about it. I haven’t seen the
photographs; only the person who was taking the picture could see the view through the viewﬁnder. Then, whose pictures are these and what are they for? I usually think that I used to take pictures for memory. Basically, if I take a picture, I can see it later whenever I want to remember something; a feeling, an emotion, atmosphere and people who were with me at that moment etc. Additionally, the action of taking a picture itself helps me to remember them well. I must decide exact subject, view, and I need to think - or feel - about them better. Sometimes, I take a picture for both reasons. But, in this case, it was bit diﬀerent with the case. I felt we are deciding and creating the images, which would be seen by other people through the viewﬁnder, even though they were there at that very moment. The making of the images were the only moments for them. Hiroomi: When we tried a piece of ham in a market, when we had fried ﬁsh, when we encountered a favourite art work in a museum and when we found such a big cheese, we asked to take a picture of us. Actually I was familiar with those things. Only the instant partner was new to me. I wonder if people noticed that I was not excited about those things. Everyone willingly accepted to take a picture of us. Probably because the people who took pictures of us and who looked at us with smiles considered us just as tourists. I assume that if people who don’t know this project and see the pictures of us, consider the pictures as just tourist photographs.
Punten (Dots) Linda Hesh
Part – Installation Two people (volunteers) walk on opposite sides of the street in the business centre of a medium-sized city. At each window of a shop, restaurant, or bar, they place a cm selfadhesive white dot in the lower right hand corner of the window. A window is defined as a segment of glass outlined by a wider frame. It may contain smaller panes which do not count as separate windows. All windows are done even if the business has a large number of windows. They must do all windows they can reach easily. At the end of each block, the two volunteers face each other across the street to check in visually. The volunteers may develop their own signals to let each other know if they need to take a break or speak to each other for any reason. The volunteers will follow a path planned by the artist and the curator. The volunteers who will be executing the action may give input if they are familiar with the city’s layout. The focus will be on areas of high pedestrian traﬃc. I would suggest to start in the centre of the city and to work out from there so the final installation will have the shape of a circle or square. Part 2 – Uninstallation Two people (volunteers) walk on opposite side of the street along the previously used route and remove the white dots that were installed previously. At the end of each block, the two volunteers face each other across the street to check in visually. The action is complete when all the dots are removed. The uninstallation can be completed either: a) On the same day as the dots are installed; two additional volunteers follow the installing volunteers one block behind them to remove the dots. b) One day after the installation; two volunteers remove the dots following the same route as the original installers. Marta: (Placing the dots) I felt like I had a kind of obsessive-compulsive syndrome. And I was very aware that it’s private property and I felt like I am actually sticking a dot onto a person who doesn’t want that. I felt it’s a bit aggressive. At some abandoned or not so very posh place it wasn’t so hard to put them on – but at some very posh bar with its tables and chairs standing outside, I found it impossible to do. Ton: (Taking the dots oﬀ ) Removed dots from windows. Hardly noticed by passers-by, or people behind windows, but that could have been diﬀerent if it had not been Sunday when the shops were closed. The comfort zone was not really tested. 42
Schreeuw (Scream) Roekoe M
The performance consists of three parts, performed by one person. Shortly before the festival starts, there will be a scream. The scream sounds harsh and lasts as long as the breath permits! It is important that the performer can act in a secluded area, with no one around. The sound must travel easily, so an outdoor area is preferred. It should not be clear where the scream comes from. After this first scream the performer will join the festival, but in absolute silence. She is allowed to participate in other performances, provided that her silence is not broken. Nonverbal and written communication are allowed but should be used as little as possible. When the festival ends and the last performance has taken place, there will be a second scream. This is done in the same area as the first scream and will end the period of silence of the performer. The screams function as an opening and a closing sign but, even more important, they mark the silence in between. The inability to communicate emphasizes the loneliness in being together.
Malou: …At this moment it had to happen. Done with the rest! I was startled by my sound. My voice was much louder than expected. I shouted as loud as I could until my sound lost its strength. From now on there was just silence… …At the end of the day people were tired and everybody was quiet. I noticed that this felt comfortable even though usually I like a lot of noise and cosiness. It was just enough, probably because social contacts were very close these days… …It was nice to close the festival this way. Not so much because I could speak again, but it just needed to be closed. I walked back to the original location with a certain melancholy. I was not sure if I really wanted to speak again. Somehow being silent felt comfortable.. …The hours afterwards I felt a bit uncertain. I had to ﬁnd a comfortable relation with the spoken word again. I tried to write a bit but that did not work very well. Then, in a lively discussion about a performance on the train back home, I regained my appetite for talking…. 4
Staan voor Paal (Pole Position) Topp en Dubio
One or more participants choose a lamppost and take position around two meters away. The participant observes the lamppost very concentrated for 0 minutes (comparable with for instance observing a 7th century painting). The observer notices every detail that makes this lamppost unique (form elements, irregularities, colour, light and shadow). The participant memorizes as many details as they can, resolves never to forget this lamppost again. After half an hour, the participant makes a drawing or gives a description of every memorised detail (this description could be handed over to others, by which they might be able to identify the lamppost).
Maria: I can still remember some details (a missing cat poster, some graﬃti tags and stickers) but it’s hard after a few hours to remember such mundane and minute characteristics. For sure I remember the location and the exact pole, and if I ever stand in front of it again, I feel like I will be able to tell whether there have been any changes.
Steef Sarah Boulton
Verbally instructed her performer. He could choose his own moment for the performance.
Steef: About the verbal instruction: This performance was a very personal one. It was thought out by the artist with me (my body) in mind. I met the artist in a cafĂŠ in Amsterdam. She had ďŹ&#x201A;own in from London, I was there from Berlin. The meeting acted as a point of transference. Here, she would tell me what the performance would be and what I needed to do. She showed me a simple movement of touching the back of my head with a few ďŹ ngers, and added the instruction to do this every time I felt someone standing behind me. As it happens, this movement is something I do a lot anyway, but now it carried an extra meaning. She told me she had been thinking a lot about my head. An uncommon remark to hear from a stranger. This remark to me was not personal, but rather more sculptural. She was thinking of the body that would carry the gesture. How it would look, and correspond to it. In giving me this gesture, her role was complete. I now owned this gesture and was free to use it. Throughout the weekend I made it several times. It triggered no response, and might not even have been seen, but that was not the important part. The fact that I carried this gesture with me now was the essence of the performance. Since the end of the festival weekend I have not performed this gesture, but I still own it. I may pass it on to someone else eventually.
Standing Piece Julie Rozman
Stand awkwardly at the periphery.
Frans: At the borderline between light and shadow, at the curb, standing close to groups of tourists in front of shop windows. I noticed that, just by being alert, I recognized all sorts of peripheries I was standing at by chance.
Tekening (Drawing) Jeroen Jongeleen
For several months I have been running repeating patterns in fields (parks, meadows, etc.), long enough to mark the pattern on the ground, as a kind of elephant path. Within the frame of this festival, I would like to realize a new and more complex labyrinthine pattern, walked by several people. This can take place in any kind of urban green space. The patterns are plotted using ropes - which should be followed in order to walk in the demarcated way. This also causes the line ‘intersections’ to turn into social hubs. We do not need much more than a hand full of enthusiastic participants on sneakers and, ideally, a nice viewpoint, since the drawing is not completely visible from the ground.
Jeroen and Carmen: When we arrived at the scene, Jeroen already managed to create a beautiful ton sur ton path in the grass. He had already run 20 of the 60 km he planned on running that day. We participated in deepening the path (not running though, just walking). The recreational ﬁeld on which he was making the drawing wasn't that big, so it was peculiar that you can have such an extensive walk on such a small patch of grass. And the amazing thing was, that because of all the angles in the course, we saw something new every other round. Later on, when we sat on the ground and watched others running the course, it looked like as if there was a hidden path running haphazardly through all the other groups of people on the ﬁeld hat no-one else but the running people could see. A remarkable sight. Edwin: Cooperation is a wish in this work but it is not really obvious. It feels as a solo work in which you are allowed to join. The drawing is the product of somebody else. Malou: Jeroen ran for eight hours in the burning sunlight. The 45 minutes I joined were nothing compared to that. He is the one connecting to the environment. His presence makes the story, makes the drawing. My contribution seemed to have no eﬀect, it made no diﬀerence. That is how I felt. Why was I doing this? Next time I would run eight hours together with him.
Surveillance Performance Dino Dinco
. Prior to the date or dates of the performance ), write by hand, or have printed, the following text on 25 - 50 small pieces of paper or small cards: ‘It has been a pleasure watching you’. 2. On the date of the performance , dress in discrete, ordinary clothing. Inconspicuous or dark colours, no patterns or logos. Wear sunglasses, unless that would cause you to stand out. . Choose a target. If the text is printed on a small piece of paper, fold the paper in half or quarters. Tuck into pocket or hold in hand. 4. Conduct surveillance on target. Stay at a distance that prevents you from being noticed by target. Blend into surroundings. Walk slowly. Avoid obvious staring. If possible, keep a few people between you and the target. Follow the target into / out of stores, cafes, etc. as appropriate. 5. When you feel that your surveillance of target has been suﬃciently and fully realized, casually and naturally get within arm’s reach of target, ideally side by side. . Without saying anything, gently pass the folded paper to the person and casually walk away. Get lost in the crowd or wherever you are. Walk a few blocks away, have a coﬀee, etc. Stay away for a bit of time until the people in the area forget about you. 7. When ready, choose next target. Continue in this fashion until all notes have been distributed, however, continue only if you feel you can do so without being noticed.
Marta: I used to play the ‘follow someone game’ with my best friend when I was a child (around 8-9) so I was a bit surprised when I got this ‘task’. Back then we did it out of pure curiosity – where are certain randomly chosen people going and what are they doing? It was something forbidden…following is usually seen that way. So today it brought me back to my childhood, although now I was more inhibited and very conscious of my behaviour. Furthermore I was trying to see, according to how she or he is walking, what would happens in their mind and what would they think if they knew somebody was following them. I was also thinking, what is actually a ‘surveillance’ and why is it unpleasant – what makes it unpleasant? And, what is the border of ‘private’, and how to what extent is it socially expected or allowed to be ‘nosy’, and why and how do we learn about these boundaries?
Malou: …This woman was much quicker. She walked in a direction and suddenly turned back. Apparently she forgot something. Back in the shop she looked at the soaps. She could not ﬁnd the right brand. She walked out and went into the ecological supermarket. After a while she left that shop too without buying anything. That was the moment I wanted to hand over my piece of paper. I softly touched her arm and she accepted the paper, trembling all over. Was this really so frightening for her? For that reason my fellow performer (Marta) did not want to hand over the notes. She felt it was too scary. To me this is exactly what makes it interesting. ‘Who knows what this person has found out about me?’ The illusion of anonymity is cancelled out. Cameras are replaced by a human, which makes it personal. And that is creepy. Am I a creep?
Thought Nico Parlevliet
The word is made up of straight lines (see drawing at www.unnoticedartfestival.com/parlevliet). The performers take their position on the imaginary end of a straight line, which will be the first part of a letter. Having located this point, the performers will speak to each other on the phone to confirm the points they have found, before moving to the next point. This motion continues until all the 22 straight lines have been located that make up the word THOUGHT. In the drawing I add walking directions. This is only a suggestion. If the performers find a better route that will result in comparable results, they are free to change it. If they wish to repeat this performance, they are free to do so as well. See also: www.unnoticedartfestival.com/parlevliet
Ton: It worked quite well, thanks to parallel linear structure on the pavement. One woman observing. But we needed serious concentration to follow the route, and we had to communicate on the phone.
Two Men Whispering Malin Peter
The scene is anywhere where people are going. Two men, in the age between 5 and 55 and dressed in suits, stand next to each other. They are communicating by whispering in each other’s ears. They can talk about anything. Duration: 0 - 0 min.
Steef: For this performance we went to the train station dressed in suits. On the platform we stood close to each and started whispering. We stood there for about 30 minutes and whispered on a nearly empty platform. The whole performance felt awkward. We were not sure about our movements and what we should talk about and there was no crowd to hide this fact. Two men whispering is strange at best of times. There is something being shared that you are not to know, that is physically protected by the whisperers. When two men are whispering, and there is nobody around, the act becomes something else. Now this whispering is something purely physical. That which needs protecting is already safe. The awkwardness lies in its redundancy. On an empty platform we were out of place.
Unnoticed Soundworks Andrew NcNiven
Requirements: Portable MP player, e.g. iPod, iPhone, portable speaker(s) : Check available soundworks at www.unnoticedartfestival.com/mcniven. 2: Download and load music app. (Files are MP and will play on most devices.) : Place speaker(s) and device in bag or pocket. Play soundworks at a site matching that of the original recording as much as possible. Do not over-amplify. A maximum scale of : is advised. 4: This will result in the reproduced sound becoming relatively camouflaged in sonic terms and, as the performer moves through the site, becoming 'invisible' at times, even to the performer himself: at these points of ‘invisibility’ the work will have achieved its aim and will have become entirely ‘embedded’ in its transposed context. Note: performance of these works is entirely at the performer's discretion; each recording suggests a mode of reproduction – static or mobile – and there is no prescribed duration, but each recording has a 'natural' length.
Georg: As we started doing this performance, the market was already preparing to close. As Andrew recorded the sounds (played via Bluetooth through speakers which were hidden in Frauke’s bag) during the breaking phase of the market, we thought it wouldn’t ﬁt – but actually, it ﬁtted amazingly well! Nobody recognized the (pretty loud) sounds coming out of the bag! Several times it occurred that you were seeing the action in real-life time, simultaneously paired to the recorded sounds. It was just amazing! It worked perfectly well – completely unnoticed. Lilla: At the beginning, I was a bit nervous because I thought people would notice the sounds coming out of my backpack. Many times, I could clearly hear the sounds being played, but no-one seemed to notice it. At other times, the sounds were not noticeable (even not by me), they became part of the noise of the environment. My impression was that the IKEA in London was much busier than the IKEA in Haarlem I was walking through. It just felt as if there would be a ‘ghost-world’ which I can only hear but not see. It also felt as if I was present at two places at the same time, in the IKEA in London and in Haarlem. I also noticed that I became more aware of the noise in my environment than at other times. I didn’t look that much, but I started to listen.
Walking with Chairs Ienke Kastelein
A group of people go for a walk in silence, taking along a white plastic chair. They have to search for a place where they would like to sit down. Once found they will put the chairs down and sit for a while, at least for a few minutes. They have to observe the place/space/view/themselves/each other/passers-by. After that they continue their walk. They walk for about hour. They have to set an alarm to know when the walk ends. Then they can start talking again and walk back to the place of departure. Version B: Alternatively, they can walk in a group of 5 – 7 persons carrying only one white chair. So only one person can try to sit down. Exchange the chair every time. For this festival Version B was used.
Shané: There were ﬁve of us walking. We did not get a lot of response on our carrying the chair and sitting on it. Bo: People looked at us somewhat irritated when we put down the chair (blocking the way). The performance was a nice experience because we depended on others but were not really able to respond to the decisions that were made (we were not allowed to talk).
We and Your Playlist Year 2014 Rafael Abreu Canedo
With a headphone splitter, which allows two people to listen to the same music player, ask people in the streets - but only those who are listening to headphones - if you can plug in your headphone splitter and listen to their music with them. Because of the restriction of the headphone chord, which is short, you join them in their activity, whether they are walking to their destination, waiting for the bus or performing any other activity that may come up. However, you will stay in the street only. So when their bus arrives, you part ways. Likewise, when they arrive to their destinations, you part ways.
Elif: He was really lovely and friendly when I asked him: ‘I really want to listen to music but I don’t have any, can you share yours with me?’ He just laughed and said: ‘Sure.’ As we were listening to music I asked questions and he always answered and asked me questions too. Listening to his songs, I asked him if he is a ‘calm person’, he said: ‘Yes, I am for real.’ I enjoyed how you can have thoughts about someone who is a complete stranger to you.
White Space #2 Marnik Neven
This work has to be executed on a public wall, in a shop window, on a billboard, in the windows or on the front of an - abandoned - house. The size can vary, but has to be at least 20m2. At the start of the festival a person starts by pasting empty sheets of white A4 paper on a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;public wallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The sheets of paper are glued - with wallpaper paste - in such a way that they overlap. On the last day, a few hours before the festival ends, the sheets of paper are removed from the wall. The process of removing the sheets is as important as the pasting at the start. The process has to be done as precisely as possible so that most of the sheets of paper are kept intact. The recovered sheets will be used in a future project.
Marnik: The work was executed by the artist (in an underpass close to the train station).
Th re e Po si tio n s Fra n s van Le nt
Three Po sition s
In 202 I wrote: “….I use a video camera, fixed on a tripod, to make a real-time registration. The point of view is carefully chosen. Once the video is made the real performance is past tense, it is a single occurrence. From that moment the only way to experience the performance is by watching the video that remains”. and: “…It is clear that the experiences of the performer and this audience are completely different. To optimise the connection between these experiences, the medium must be as transparent as possible. In technical as well as in conceptual terms, I am looking for ways to improve this relation”. This was the start of a process that brought about many changes. I experimented with video, text works, cooperated with other performers and finally I set up a festival. This text shows the consecutive steps in the process of changing the relationship between the performative work and the audience. The text is divided into three parts: The first part is called Momon. Momon is a private place. It is located in the South of France where I spend my summers. A lot of performances took place here in solitude and were recorded on video. This chapter focuses on the relation between the performer and the spectator. The second part is called Dordrecht. Dordrecht is the city where I live and work. This chapter is about the interrelation between public and private, about form and meaning. The third and last part is called Haarlem. It is about public groups, about being involved and not being involved. Haarlem was the city where the Unnoticed Art Festival was held.
M om on Momon is a village in the Périgord. Momon is a place of concentration. Many of my works come about in and around Momon. These works, performances, are recorded on video, but cannot be observed. No-one else is present, the works come to life in solitude. The spectator is at a later time opposite a projected moving image. He is not present at the work itself, he is present at the showing of the work. Another place, another time, another event.
Pe r fo r me r an d S pec t ato r In 200 the work Crossing was realized in the woods near Momon. In this work I crossed a road centimetre by centimetre in 0 minutes time. The road was about 5 metres wide. The slowness and control of movement required much concentration. It seemed impossible to really share this physical experience with other people; what I could do though, was to make this impossibility the subject of a work. Behind the driver of a car sat a cameraman. The car drove the same round through the woods five times, while he continuously shot the passing landscape from the rear seat. During the drive, the car passed the performer just as many times, while he was at a different position on the road each time the car drove by. The camera turned in passing and carefully recorded the man. Seen from the car he seemed to be standing still because of the speed diﬀerence. The car’s passenger (the spectator) sees the pedestrian doing something with great concentration that seems inexplicable in his situation. Crossing particularly shows an unbridgeable distance between performer and spectator. See: www.fransvanlent.com/crossing Cage Piece was the first of a series of one-year performances by Tehching Hsieh in the period 7-. Until Hsieh lived in New York as an illegal alien. On 0 September 7 he locked himself up in a cage in his living quarters that he had built himself. In his statement he wrote: “I shall not converse, read, write, listen to the radio or watch television until I unseal myself on September 2, 7.” During the year that followed a friend visited him every day and brought him food. Each day he scratched a little line on the wall, each day his friend took a photo of him. Once in three weeks some visitors were admitted. They did not see anything but a man sitting in a cage in silence. “For me, the audience is secondary. However, without them my performance couldn’t exist” The visitors were important because they marked the contours of the isolation. They represented the existence he could not take part in. In Vito Acconci’s performance Seedbed (Sonnabend Gallery, 72) visitors entered an empty gallery. At the end of the room was a slanting wooden partition. Beneath it, hidden from view, lay the artist. He was masturbating while he directed his sexual fantasies at the visitors above him. He spoke aloud into a microphone that was connected to a loudspeaker in the gallery room: “Through the viewers: because of the viewers: I can hear their footsteps, they’re walking on top of me, to the side of me – I’m catching up with them – I’m focusing on one of them: I can form an image of you, dream about you, work on you”. Acconci forcefully pulled the audience into his private atmosphere by forcing an intimate relation with them. 0
The problematic or non-problematic relation between performer and audience is a way of defining the work. To Tehching Hsieh, society’s behaviour regarding illegal aliens determines the form of his performances and – conversely – his attitude regarding his audience. On the other hand, Vito Acconci tries to relate the audience – if need be undesired – to him in their private atmosphere. The work Idle (200) shows a quiet scenery, a view. Then the sound of a car getting closer. It stops, the door slams. A man comes into view. He is standing with his back towards the camera, blocking its view. He lights a cigarette and smokes. After some time he puts out the cigarette and disappears. The door slams again, the car drives away. Quietness returns. See: www.fransvanlent.com/idle The car driver experiences a moment of relaxation. He pulls over his car to the side of the road, gets out and smokes a cigarette. The cigarette is the time he gives to himself. His idea is to have a brief break. At the same time the car driver has a completely diﬀerent part, he is the person making the video. He stages a scene in front of the camera. He imagines his own back while he – hardly aware – overlooks the landscape. The spectator probably does not identify with the car driver, but rather with the camera’s position, he will experience the event as a disruption. In his perception the rural calm has disappeared the moment the car driver arrived. The situation is perceived diﬀerently by both characters, inside and outside the film. What the one person sees as a moment of calm, is seen by the other as a moment of nuisance. The work is rather an event than a story. It is not so much that is being told what once was, to a certain extent this is a current matter: a person forces himself between the spectator and the object being watched (the landscape). Irritation may show regarding the smoking man and the unnecessarily running car engine, an irritation that can make you forget that time and location are not synchronized. “Why am I watching this man’s back, doesn’t he know how annoying that is?” Annoyance is used to bridge the natural remoteness of time and space, to bring about a semblance of interaction. In a real situation the spectator would not stay. He would move in order to restore his view. But the video’s frame deprives him of that possibility; there is nothing else to do but wait for further events. The work Idle is made in isolation. It is - prepared in silence - meant to play its public part elsewhere and at another time. The event is an open construction in which the spectator has a role, he completes the work by observing, by responding to it from his emotions.
Without the spectator only half of the interaction exists, useless. The work is a question. It expects an answer from the spectator, it sets a trap with a semblance of free choice. My dog responds to barking dogs in films. The year of production is not important. He gets equally excited by a 7 dog as by a 200 dog. For some time now, I have been searching for him for the film Barking Dog (2) by sound-film pioneer Lee de Forest, the oldest footage in which a barking dog can be seen and heard.
D ordrecht Dordrecht is the city in which I live and work, where my house is, where my studio is. This chapter is about form and meaning, about the relation between public and private The work Idle is an attempt to have the performer and the user through interaction be part of the same process. The work Polder, described in the following paragraph, takes this a step further. The user now becomes the performer, he is able to experience a work directly by performing it himself. Polde r (20 4 ) In the morning I am standing for 30 minutes in front of a Dutch painting, Het Gein, by Willem Roelofs (1883), imagining myself part of that landscape. In the afternoon I am standing for 30 minutes in a field in the polder De Biesbosch, with my eyes closed, imagining the space around me.
Con ce pt a n d exe c u ti o n The work Polder is not shaped like a (video) performance, but has the form of the description of a concept. It is written as a script, as a manual. Its execution is of lesser importance. The presentation of the concept is disconnected from its realisation and is open to everyone’s interpretation. The artist may – as is the case here – or may not have performed it himself. The performance actually does not contribute to the intrinsic quality of the (text) work nor detract anything from it. Traditionally, a work of art is usually an end product with a final shape. The user/owner mainly serves to safeguard the final shape of the work – as determined by the artist. This (text) work now has consequences for both sides. The artist has less grip on its detailing, and the spectator, or rather the user, may adapt the concept to his own situation to a certain degree. He is responsible for a proper performance. He may take decisions regard-
ing details and as such contributes to the form. That form is not a part of the intrinsic qualities of the work; it is only valid for that particular occasion. Performance has mainly become the consumption of the work. Each future performance will be diﬀerent. The performance now has become a personal event, may be performed by anyone and everywhere, at any chosen moment. For each individual performance the work regains its value in and by the person who realises the work. This turns each performance of the work into a unique event that is mainly of personal interest. And if it is being recorded, such recording may take any shape. Such documentation is not of primary interest for the work in a general sense, but is particularly of interest as a personal report. My notes after carrying out the work: I expected that in 0 minutes I would be able to really enter the imaginary space of the painting. By then I should have been able to identify with the image by using the method of perceiving that related to my experiences in nature. So as a start I accepted the painting for what I was meant to see. Standing there in front of the painting, I gradually realised that it was not the experience of space which I had expected, it was the experience of paint brushed onto canvas. It became clear that the more intense I was looking, the less I would be able to go along with the illusion. In fact I was approaching the painter’s reality. That same afternoon I went to polder De Biesbosch to do the second part of the work. In an open field I chose a spot where I probably would not be interrupted. I found the right position and closed my eyes. I did not exactly know what to expect. At first I felt disoriented because of the sudden absence of a visual overview, a bit uncertain maybe, about what unexpectedly might come close. My focus shifted to hearing, to the sound of flying animals, I sensed the wind on my skin. In my thoughts I tried to construct a spatial image out of all this information, but it was not convincing. It became increasingly diﬃcult to relate it to the visual space. I tried reconstructing it, using my (fading) memories, more than just a means of perception of that moment. Maybe the scale was confusing too. With my eyes closed, distances and proportions appeared to alter, everything felt closer, more direct. After some minutes I became used to this shifting perception. I could just stand there without further consideration. Pu bl i c a nd Pr ivate A performance is not singular. Even if a concept results in a movement, an action, an event, a sequence, it will always be a presentation. An action that takes place in the public domain will probably be seen, interpreted, leave its traces, have its eﬀects. But even if nothing else than the memory of the performer would remain, even then a presentation has been delivered.
Allan Kaprow’s work Maneuvers (7) is based on the courtesies of people when they pass through a door. Maneuvers was performed by seven pairs at various public locations in Naples. Two performers passed through a door at the same time in various ways, using a dialogue of courtesies written down earlier. The expressions that were used seemed authentic, but they had been twisted and adjusted, giving them another eﬀect. Meanings shifted, context changed, intentions became unclear. The course of events was discussed extensively before and after and Kaprow saw these conversations as part of the work. Ervin Goﬀman published in 5 The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a sociological study of general human behaviour. He started from the idea that everyday routines (e.g. putting down a cup, answering the telephone), despite their appearance of the ordinary and the absence of intentional expressive intentions, show characteristics of an – artistic – performance. Every human action, however simple, is being aﬀected by interaction with another person. There is a continuous, intentional and unintentional, exchange of communicative intentions. Goﬀman discerns the ‘expression the person gives’, that what is being communicated intentionally, and the ‘expression the person gives-oﬀ’, those meanings and ambiguities that are not voiced, but that nevertheless are being understood. To Hannah Arendt, ‘public’ is everything that comes out in the open and that therefore is part of our communal world. The existence of a public realm is indispensable for the human experience of reality. “He who has been deprived of this realm, has been deprived of reality which, humanly and politically speaking, is equal to being seen and heard.” Our experience of reality depends on the external appearance and its confirmation by objects and humans. The public domain oﬀers a person the possibility to be seen and heard by other people, from which he derives his identity. That identity of a person can never be recorded by the acting person himself, but needs confirmation by others. His actions and statements will be included in a network of stories. For that, actions and words must be heard, seen and remembered. Arendt does not talk about the public, but about public, an adjective. Not a group of people, but that what surrounds people. We consider the world selective, think of certain information as being important and hardly notice other information. This process is needed to be able to organise and manage. We experience the world as hierarchical and through that hierarchy we experience structure. Within that structure, each person is the centre of his own universe.
An I mprovi sed R o ute ( 20 4) In the morning I walk an improvised route through the city, in the afternoon I walk exactly the same route again. The work An Improvised Route is about intentions. The first walk is spontaneous, impulsive, full of associations and ideas. The second walk, although the same in its sequence and its formal quality, is a completely diﬀerent personal experience. Now the focus is on memory and preciseness. What the performer wanted to see and do in the morning is not important anymore; the second time it is important how he went about it and in what sequence. Because of the repetition the content disappears. It becomes a set of meaningless movements. At least, this is true for the performer, in the world in which he is the centre. Imagine: Somebody is watching from a window in an apartment in a street in Haarlem. It is in the morning, around :00 hrs. A man approaches from the right, walking on the pavement in a straight line, as if he has a clear idea of where he is going. Suddenly he crosses the street to the right and disappears in a narrow alley. He has disappeared. A few hours later, around :00 hrs., the same man reappears from the right and repeats exactly the same route. The person, still watching from the window, might remember the movements of that morning for some reason, he recognises the pattern and will start to wonder: why are these movements identical? That what the first time seemed to be spontaneous, without planning, must already have been thought over and organised. In the walks nothing has really changed, just another time of the day. What did change were the thoughts and considerations of the person behind the window. He starts to think up probable reasons for the events. Who is this walking man? Where is the man going and what is so interesting in that alley? Because of the repetition, this person starts to wonder about meaning and motives. What was empty before, now starts to fill up. In an interview with actress Fania Sorel earlier this year I discussed this loss of content because of repetition: Q:”For me as a (visual) artist, repetition is a way of emptying a form, a method to get rid of all unwanted narrative aspects. For you, as an actress, repetition must also be important, but probably for very diﬀerent reasons.” A: “That is right, in theatre it is quite the opposite. Repetition brings deepening, more understanding. It is not a way to abstract, it is a way to connect to the narrative. Repetition is not just doing it again, it is making it stronger. There is always this paradox: We are not the people we are playing, we are lying. How near can you be to the truth? In contrast with (your non-theatrical) performance we are not aiming at the truth.” Form is public, meaning is private. One form can mean many diﬀerent things. 5
Haar lem Haarlem is about public groups, about the involved and the not involved. Haarlem was the city where we had the Unnoticed Art Festival. “…It is clear that the experiences of the performer and this audience are completely different. In order to optimise the connection between these experiences, the medium must be as transparent as possible. In technical as well as in conceptual terms, I am looking for ways to improve this relation.” The first part, Momon, is about the confrontation of the spectator with the video performance. By means of the work Crossing it is shown that the communication between performer and spectator through video has its restrictions. The work Idle forces a relation that seeks to be direct and equal, but is in fact manipulative and provoking. It is a step in a study into a diﬀerent relation between performance and spectator. The second part, Dordrecht, is about public and private. With the text works Polder and An Improvised Route, I turn into a new path. Video as a medium is taken out, the textual concept itself becomes publicly accessible. The spectator is challenged to be the user, to follow the path of the performance, to eﬀectively internalise the work. In this third part I will use a number of references to show the diﬀerent stages of emancipation of the spectator and how he turns into an active participant, into a performer. Finally, I will show how this all has led to the realisation of the Unnoticed Art Festival. Categ or ies o f spe c t ato rs Bertolt Brecht was of the opinion that the emotional catharsis would make the audience complacent. Instead he sought to give his audience a critical perspective which would enable them to recognise social injustice and exploitation. This could lead to changes that would come about in society – outside of the theatre. After seeing a performance by the Mei Lanfang company in Moscow in the spring of 5, Brecht devised the term Verfremdungseﬀekt for a theatre approach that dissuades the audience to lose itself in the illusory narrative world of the stage and the emotions of the characters. In Brecht’s plays the actor plays as though no fourth wall exists. The stage illusion is deliberately being disturbed because the actor observes his own behaviour and frequently addresses the audience. Brecht thought it essential that the audience could reflect critically and without bias on what was presented. By emphasizing the constructed character of the play, he wanted to state that reality in society is equally constructed and therefor in theory changeable. The Verfremdungseﬀekt is rooted in the Russian Formalism notion of De-familiarisation,
which literary critic Viktor Shklovsky (Art as Technique, 7) considered to be the essence of all art: “The over-familiarisation and recognition with an object reduces the objects to insignificance - it is art that removes the objects from the automatism of perception.” The relationship between stage and theatre is still traditional and unequal. The audience was trained in the correct way of social thinking. Augusto Boal directs at awareness as well. The Invisible Theatre, as he called it, does not ask the spectator to delegate power to the stage character (as is the case with Brecht), who “...thus acts in his place, but the spectator reserves the right to think for himself, often in opposition to the character.” (Augusto Boal, 7) The strong emotional response, which Brecht expressly wanted to avoid, is being used by Boal to involve the audience fully in the play. He transformed them from spectators to participants. In Theatre of the Oppressed Boal discusses an example of The Invisible Theatre that took place in a full restaurant of a hotel in Chiclayo. A customer and a waiter argue about the quality of the food and the price to be paid. The incident attracts the attention of the other waiters who, at a later stage, are requested to collect money to pay the customer’s bill. After the incident, says Boal, a debate started in the restaurant about the inequality of income and the wages of the proletariat. He mentioned that the discussion lasted all evening, whereas the guests in the restaurant never knew that they were part of a carefully prepared scene. Boal was of the opinion that by taking part in a real event this would have a lasting eﬀect on the audience’s awareness. Even though the audience is capable of forming their own opinion and to take part in the discussion, the relationship between the actors and the audience (spect-actors) remains somehow unequal. It still is a concerted educational construction with a division of roles. In both examples the so-called theatrical performance is still manifest: there is a group of actors who create an image and there is a group of spectators for whom this image is intended. The mutual relationship is adapted to the character of the era and to social reality, but has not changed substantially. Kaprow refused to accept the term audience: “The distinction between audience and actor (performer) is the only remaining element of theatrical convention followed by the avant-garde and must be eliminated.” In contrast with this, he described his approach as a non-theatrical performance. He formulated a number of characteristics of the Happening: • The line between the happening and daily life should be kept as fluid and perhaps indistinct as possible. • Themes, materials, actions and the associations they evoke, are to be gotten from
• • • • •
anywhere except from the arts, their derivatives and their milieu. The happening should be dispersed over several, widely-spaced, sometimes moving and changing, locales. Time, closely bound up with things and spaces, should be variable and independent of the convention of continuity. The composition of all materials, actions, images, and their times and spaces, should be undertaken in as artless, and, again, practical, a way as possible. Happenings should be unrehearsed, and performed by non-professionals, once only. It follows that there should not be (and usually cannot be) an audience or audiences to watch a happening.
Kaprow’s mode of thought has a substantial relation with Shklovsky’s principle of de-familiarisation. For the form of his scripts, Kaprow used elements of actions and events from daily life. He drastically changed the meaning and coherence of the action so that the obvious disappeared and all substantial opportunities were open again. See also the description of the work Maneuvers in the previous chapter. Kaprow addressed himself only to the participants who performed the work. There was room for discussion, for adaptations, for initiatives. Before his death in 200, Kaprow relinquished the copyrights of the scripts (the scores) as he did not want to regard his initial versions as originals or definitive versions. He wanted the concepts to be rediscovered: “(the reinventor..) is not copying my concept but is participating in a practice of reinvention central to my work”. The way to t he fe s ti va l My work In a Train (20) was an experiment in the possibilities of cooperation, of sharing the experience of performing. The work was carried out in a train, driving at 200 km/hrs., between Amsterdam and Berlin. For In a Train I designed a simple structure for six performers: nothing more than a series of obvious movements, following a premeditated schedule. I asked five travelling companions to join me. The performance was carried out exactly as planned, without attracting the attention of other train passengers. In this work there were two diﬀerent audiences: . My companions, who were involved in the work by executing it and who, by doing this, were perceiving it in the most physical way. 2. The other passengers in their seats, staring out of the window or reading. This group is unaware of the performance and not involved in it. I understood that the unawareness of this second group had an important function in the
process: it isolated and defined the first group, the participants. It turned these six into an actual team, they shared an experience. I realised that in this I found a way to improve the relation between the work and the spectator. I needed to pull the ‘spectators’ into the performance, to invite them to join, to share responsibility. Later I decided to further explore this new form by applying it on a larger scale. In a Train became the basic concept of the Unnoticed Art Festival. Through this experience it became clear that there was a certain balance between these two groups. The performance became exciting, because the actions of one group were embedded in the ignorance of the other. This contrast seemed to be essential. When, as a result of that, the concept of the Unnoticed Art Festival started to evolve, it became clear that now also another split was very important: the division of concept and realisation. On the one hand we needed the artists to submit the concepts and on the other there was this other group, the participants, carrying out and experiencing these works. This split between these two seemed to be significant to my research. It would possibly create an open attitude towards the concepts. The performers could, within certain boundaries, discuss, interpret and influence the concepts, individually or as a group. Often they had to deal with practical situations the artists had not been able to foresee and include in their concepts. When I placed an open call to compile the program for the festival, I thought of another advantage of splitting up the concept from its practical realisation: artists from all over the world could take part. Physical distance did not matter. I then placed another open call to attract volunteers to carry out the performances. For the unexperienced performer, the aspect of remaining unnoticed appeared to be very important. It guaranteed a certain anonymity and, by that, a certain freedom in movements. Most of the participants were new to the field, students, and people working in all sorts of professions. The Un no ti ce d The ignorance of the passers-by isolates and defines the first group, the participants. I tried to guarantee the aspect of remaining unnoticed by keeping the location of the festival a secret to everybody. This way it would not be emphasised as an event by a side-line audience. The participants were only to find out the actual city at the moment they arrived on the first day. For the same reason it was not allowed to use cameras during the performances (except when the concept specifically demanded for it). Cameras emphasise the special character of the occasion. That would attract the specific attention of passers-by. There was yet another reason, for not making any visual documentation. Documenting a
performance by means of photos or videos would, after the festival, again create this gap between performance and spectator, which was the basic object of my research. Therefore, I chose to document the performances in another way. Because the festival concept was very much focused on personal experiences of the performers, we asked them to write an immediate response after finishing their performances. Through personal descriptions, we hoped to make these experiences more tangible. The Unnoticed Art Festival took place in the weekend of 7/ May. On Saturday morning forty people met on a campsite at the outskirts of the city of Haarlem. Many of them had never met before. In 20, the Bristol based organisation Situations published The New Rules of Public Art 2. Some of these rules fitted the Unnoticed Art Festival very well and I included those in the briefing that took place on that Saturday morning. We discussed the preferred approach of the participants and the way we hoped this festival would evolve. There was an atmosphere of dedication, this was a group with a mission. We felt that we were part of something very special. After carrying out thirty-four performances, the festival ended on Sunday early in the evening the way it started, with a scream in the park. We all went home knowing that, contrary to our unforgettable experiences, hardly anybody in Haarlem will have noticed.
Postscr i p t: On 24 June I returned to Haarlem to ﬁnd out what this all meant to me. Again I performed two (solo) works I did during the festival. Julie Rozman’s Standing Piece and my own concept An Improvised Route. Of course it was not the same: it was one month later and meanwhile summer had started, and it was not a weekend but just a weekday. All the shops were open and no-one had come to the park to enjoy the sun. But the main thing was that it lacked the atmosphere of knowing that you are part of a group. Even though I carried out these works solo during the festival, I then experienced I had a purpose in a larger context. Frans van Lent Momon, July 31, 2014.
N otes . Fourth wall: Speaking directly to or otherwise acknowledging the audience through a camera in a film or television program, or through this imaginary wall in a play, is referred to as “breaking the fourth wall” and is considered a technique of metafiction, as it penetrates the boundaries normally set up by works of fiction. (Wikipedia) 2. • • • • • • • • • • • •
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Situations: The New Rules of Public Art: It doesn't have to look like public art It's not forever Create space for the unplanned Don't make it for a community, create a community Withdraw from the cultural arms race Demand more than fireworks Don't embellish, interrupt Share ownership freely, but authorship wisely Welcome outsiders Don't waste time on definitions Suspend your disbelief Get lost
R e fe re n ces Painting Het Gein, by Willem Roelofs www.dordrechtsmuseum.nl/ontdek/roelofs-sr-willem/hollands-landschap-het-gein No Innocent Bystanders: Performance Art and Audience by Frazer Ward, Dartmouth College Press, ISBN: 7---- Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life by Allan Kaprow, edited by Jeﬀ Kelley, University of California Press, ISBN: 7-0-520-2407-7 Allan Kaprow, Art as Life, Edited by Meyer-Hermann/Perchuk/Rosenthal, Thames and Hudson, ISBN: 7-0-500-24- The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goﬀman, Penguin Books, ISBN: 7-0-40-57- Situation, Documents of Contemporary Art, Edited by Claire Doherty, Whitechapel Gallery, MIT Press, ISBN: 7-0-22-505-0 Bertolt Brecht: various websites Theatre of the Oppressed, by Augusto Boal, translated by C. and M. McBride/E. Fryer, Pluto Press, ISBN: 7-0-745-2- Hannah Arendt, by Marja van Nieuwkerk / Cris van der Hoek. From:’Filosofen van deze tijd’, Maarten Doorman / Heleen Pott, ISBN: 7-0-5-22-7 Critical Theory, a Graphic Guide, by Stuart Sim & Borin van Loon, ISBN:7-0-4-05- Unnoticed Art Festival, www.unnoticedartfestival.com, unnoticedartfestival.blogspot.com Facebook pages and Twitter (@UnnoticedArt) The New Rules on Public Art. Situations, independent arts charity, Bristol www.situations.org.uk/overwhelming-response-new-rules-public-art/ The video-work Crossing (accompanied by a text by Lucette Ter Borg), http://fransvanlent.com/crossing, The work Idle. http://fransvanlent.com/idle The work Polder. http://fransvanlent.com/polder The work An Improvised Route. http://fransvanlent.com/animprovisedroute
Many thanks to all artists for their enthusiasm and their trust. Many thanks to all volunteers for performing the works in a more than respectful way. Many thanks to all sponsors for their generous donations, turning this idea into a beautiful experience for everyone concerned.
The performers & staﬀ
Rafael Abreu Canedo Sarah Boulton Derek Dadian-Smith Craig Damrauer Dino Dinco Mr and Mrs Gray Linda Hesh Hiroomi Horiuchi David Horvitz Daan den Houter Jeroen Jongeleen Ienke Kastelein Jonathon Keats Joke van Kerkwijk Kees Koomen Margreet Kramer Gavin Krastin Frans van Lent Steef van Lent Gretta Louw Lilla Magyari Andrew McNiven Janet Meaney Tim Miller Marnik Neven Joyce Overheul Nico Parlevliet Malin Peter Jess Rose Julie Rozman Roekoe M Joshua Schwebel Edwin Stolk Topp & Dubio
Safanja Bendeler Jasper Budel Marine Cazzola Elif Ceren Ergin Léna Desiles Daniel Dominguez Malou van Doormaal Frauke Fichtner Marta Haraminčić Bo van den Heuvel Shané Hoetjes Hiroomi Horiuchi Carmen Hutting Eveline de Jonge Jeroen Jongeleen Ienke Kastelein Folkert Koelewijn Ton Kraayeveld Margreet Kramer Georg Kraus Frans van Lent Steef van Lent Jeroen van der Linde Lilla Magyari Maria Martens Andrew McNiven Marnik Neven Ella Nieuwenhuijzen Nico Parlevliet Jello Reumer Heekyung Ryu Diedrik Sibma Arjen Snelders Tom Slegtenhorst Petra van der Steen Edwin Stolk Yvo van der Vat Thijs Vink Mickey Vissers Jutka Vries Marlot Westera
All sponsors, Voordekunst, Pictura Dordrecht (NLD), MaHKU Utrecht (NLD), Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam (NLD), Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen (BRD), Camping De Liede Haarlem (NLD), Gemeente Dordrecht (NLD), Jello Reumer, Andrew McNiven, Theun Okkerse, Willem Jan Gasille, Henk Slager, Klaas Hoek, Jeroen Bouweriks, Han Hoogerbrugge, Ulrike Shepherd, Digisource, The inhabitants of the city of Haarlem.
Credits Unnoticed Art by Frans van Lent ÂŠ 2014 Published by Frans van Lent 300 copies ISBN/EAN: 978-90-808675-0-5 Copyright texts: The artists (ÂŠ) and many of the participants; Frans van Lent. Co-editor: Maria Martens Revision English texts: Willem Jan Gasille Design: Frans van Lent/Theun Okkerse Photo cover: I suspect it's a self-portrait Hiroomi Horiuchi, performed by Nico Parlevliet Graphics advice and print coordination: Theun Okkerse Printed by: RAD Dordrecht www.unnoticedartfestival.com www.theconceptbank.org
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher. The copyrights of the printed concepts are owned by the artists.