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Paying to emote for the sake of art

Members of Bermuda Artists Rise Up are offering a rare opportunity to experience performance art in Bermuda tonight.

PEEL will involve audience members interacting wordlessly with each other.

“PEEL doesn’t stand for anything,” said organiser Krystl Assan. “It is an imperative, it is a question, it is an experiment. It is an interactive art exhibit, featuring work by the BARU arts collective that includes Ami Zanders, Calix Smith, Dany Pen and others. It is also a performance piece which is quite different for Bermuda. There have only been two other performance pieces on the Island. One was done by Calix and the other was done by Michael Walsh. It is something new for Bermuda.”

Mr Smith said because many people in society wear a proverbial mask, the performance is about letting people know that it is okay to “emote” in public.

“This is an opportunity to bridge the gap we have as a people,” he said. “This is a love fest. We want everyone to come out and embrace this idea.”

Performance art gained prominence in the 1970s. One of the most famous performance pieces happened in 1971 during a performance called ‘Shoot’. American performance artist Chris Burden asked a friend to shoot him during the performance. The friend was only supposed to graze his arm, but the friend’s aim was bad and he instead shot him straight through the arm. The result was a great deal of “public emoting”. Of course, most performance art pieces aren’t as dramatic as this.

“Performance art has to do with artwork made by the actions of a person or a group of people,” said Ms Assan. “You don’t have a tangible piece to walk away with, it is just what you are doing. It can’t be bought or sold because there is no art object. It is simply the experience. Every time it happens it will be different.”

Audience members at PEEL will be required to sit adjacent to one another and answer a series of questions with a partner, in silence.

“The aim is for people to bridge emotional space,” said Ms Assan. “That is the gist of it without giving too much away. Performance art draws on dance and theatre. The difference between theatre and dance and performance art is that with the first two the point is to entertain, but the point of performance art is to question and to interrogate. You also don’t have to be formally trained to be a performance artist. It is conceptual.”

Doors open at Chewstick on Elliott street at 5.30pm. The first opportunity to participate is at 6.15pm and there will be a second opportunity at 7.15pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets are available at Bay Grape, Tribe Road Kitchen, Juice and Bean, Chewstick and Rock Island Coffee. If you cannot afford the ticket price, inform the person at the door. For more information see BARU’s Facebook page.

Performance artist Krystl Assan. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 29, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 29, 2012 at 9:11 am)

Paying to emote for the sake of art

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