This interactive performance centers on creating a situation where the audience will be forced to get into conflict with the artist. Based on Andy Warhol’s famous quote, “Just 15 minutes” aims to simulate the desire to become and remain the center of attention and what this does to an unwilling audience. The project emphasizes the relationship of authority between the artist and the audience. The artist, being the initiator and the performer, will exert his will to remain on stage, defying the needs of the audience, effectively keeping them captive in an endless performance devoid of any conventional entertainment or meaningful communication. With the help of on stage interactive element, the audience is to be challenged to overcome its submissive role and act to reassert its will by forcing the artist to end its performance.
The performance is set on a space where a large, running clock dominates the center. The clock functions as a timer and once it reaches the 15 minutes mark, the performance will end (this information will be given to the audience beforehand). Two hand cranks connected to this clock will be available to be operated during the performance. The cranks revolve around the same axis and based on the direction of their rotation, will advance or rewind the minute hand of the clock. The artist, once on stage, will place himself on one of the crank handles and constantly wind the clock backwards as to prolong the duration of the performance. If left alone this way, the performance will never end as the clock will not be able to hit the 15-minute mark with the artist’s constant rewinding. The only way to overcome this would be to man the other lever, thus forcing the clock to advance and therefore ending the performance.
Understanding that the performance can only end by getting to the second lever, the audience will eventually be forced to interact with it, thus taking on the responsibility of ending the artist’s performance. This act will also put the audience member in direct conflict with the artist, both physically and politically. The physical challenge comes from the fact that of the two cranks can only be turned one way at any given time. So, to succeed, the audience member will have to physically overcome the backwards rotation that the artist is exerting to resume the clock’s advance and achieve her goal.
Aside from the physical aspect of the conflict, the audience’s action also generates a political struggle. Based on the regular conventions of the spectacle, the audience is expected to transfer some measure of authority to the performer and willingly subject herself to the performance at hand. Although she retains her cognitive faculties like her critical or aesthetic assessment during the event, she does not have any freedom of choice and expression; these only belong to the artist. Simply put, she becomes a captive audience. In turn, it is expected of the performer to construct a spectacle in line with these conventions, as the audience entrusts him with the honor – or the power – to provide them with a certain satisfaction. But the performer’s responsibility – or authority – does not end here; he also needs to release the audience when it is appropriate and restore the balance of power.
In this project, by abusing his authority and offering neither release nor satisfaction, the artist breaks the convention. As he blocks the channels by which political power changes hands, he basically creates a hostage situation. This political stasis allows – or rather forces the audience to shake off her submissive state and reclaim her authority by challenging the artist. Through this act of transgression, boundaries that divide and define the artist and the audience start to collapse and blend into each other.
Blokart Space (Performistanbul)
October the 11th 2016