My Dear Partisans of Performance,
What Blaise & Co. promises, Blaise & Co. delivers! An entrance line stretching from Fifth to Sixth Avenue, an admissions line that bobbed and weaved through the lobby like Mohammad Ali, and a slug-of-a queue slumped around the squared-off atrium… WE MADE IT. We participated – hell, we contributed to – a piece by the High Priestess of Performance Art.
After nearly five hours of observation, anticipation and speculation, I took my turn at a clunky wooden chair across a clunky wooden table from the eerily calm artist. From across the atrium, one could plainly notice that she was in a frame of mind all her own; she had down-shifted into a state of being which reverberated at a lower vibration than the rest of the crowd. This much was clear, but what I did not expect was see Marina in an entirely different light than I had while waiting on line.
From afar, I thought to myself that she had a perfect complexion – smooth and even in tone. But when I sat down in my chair and we locked eyes as Marina slowly looked up, a wave of empathy shivered through my body. She was utterly exhausted. This might seem like a simple observation (“of course she’s tired, idiot, she’s been sitting there for hours!”), but her state of depletion was shocking. A wave of empathy ran through my body as we locked eyes. She was literally giving herself to me – her physical presence, her intellectual focus, and her spiritual capacity.
Suddenly it felt wrong – wrong to be taking advantage of her willingness to share herself. Wrong to be yet another person pulling up a seat to suck the energy out of her through her eyes. Wrong to have accepted this gift with such flippancy. It struck me that this was the performance: not Marina’s act of presence, but the viewer’s manner of acceptance. Were you grateful (maybe you smiled a little)? Were you challenging (maybe you were the guy who sat there for three hours)? Were you impatient (maybe you complained about the no-time-limit policy while in line)?
Suddenly I wanted to relieve her of the burden of performing for me. I felt responsible for her depletion; why had I not foreseen that I was implicit in her exhaustion? Why had I accepted this costly gift? Being confronted with this self-awareness was the performance; she had taught me about myself without saying a word.
Have you ever had this type of experience with someone?…. Leave us a post….