Exhibition in Motion: OBJECTS PERFORMED
Exhibition in Motion: Objects Performed was a performative exhibition that provided a stage for craft artists and dancers to explore how objects are made to function and the imagination and improvisation activated in one’s pursuit to use. The performance was held on May 28, 2011 at the Bellevue Arts Museum for 450 audience members and sponsored by FLUX, the 2011 Seattle Society for North American Goldsmith's (SNAG) Conference.
Objects Performed was curated by Stefano Catalani, Venetia Dale, and Tia Kramer in collaboration with choreographer Amelia Reeber.
Images by Edgar Mosa, Dana Cassara, and Vina Rust, 2011. For more information on participating artists visit the Objects Performed website.
An essay by Barb Smith
This performance is an experiment. These objects are a proposal.
The Exhibition in Motion is both site and action. Craft and craft. Performance and event. The intent is not to perform the process of crafting but rather to perform the resulting objects of craft. It is a proposal for alternative modes of display and interaction. How does an object’s meaning shift when craft objects are reframed?
Performers participate in a call and response among object, body, space, sound, and audience. Objects are placed in a state of flux. Animated, the objects are seen. Instigated, the objects incite explicit looking. The exhibition is a forum in motion. It prompts an interrogation of our assumptions about craft objects. Each gesture, each look, re-codifies the work. Touched. Worn. Enacted. A moment in the making.
This performance is a collaboration. These objects are a proposition.
By allowing the objects to exist in flux, by embracing provisionality, the collaboration between object, performer, and viewer enables us to readdress the syntax of craft. As the performers explore and read the objects, they utilize a tacit understanding of the function of everyday objects. Soap bubbles. Curling ribbon. Ball chain. There is potential in every interaction and every touch. Each object contains latent functionalities that generate new behaviors. Chair. Ring. Mask. The performers ask the objects what is possible.
The Exhibition in Motion places objects in a liminal state. Suspended, we identify, assemble, and reassemble craft. By placing objects in this situation, by making the audience an accomplice, the Exhibition in Motion proposes that craft is speculative. It moves to effect.
This performance is an experience. These objects are an instruction.
What is jewelry if not an invitation to wear, a prompt for a gesture and a demand for an audience? What is an object if not an invitation to touch, a functional cue and a demand for interaction? We make, we use. When wearing jewelry or interacting with an object, we are all performers. These are the props of daily life.
As the gestures and objects are visually consumed and considered, this event is read like a text, with the objects as the score. Objects with the body have a unique language that vacillates between fashion, adornment, and everyday function. These objects can be read as an explanation; gestures become the conversation. To study and experience the visual rhetoric of craft, we must consider the entire composition of the event. Wear, use, look, move, touch: Repeat.
This performance is a question. What can craft do?