kagablog

April 2, 2015

frank moore on performance

Filed under: art,Frank Moore — ABRAXAS @ 9:17 am

When someone goes to a cabaret, he knows there are certain limits involved such as that each act must end before another begins; but in performance, anything is possible. A performance can last for a minute or it can last for days. Performance can start in one space but then move to another. Performance can be storytelling, it can be a guy threatening you with a baseball bat, it can be a guy hanging by his skin, or throwing food, or anything. In performance all things are possible. And that is what gives you an extra edge to create dreams.

Performance, like any avant garde art, is the way society dreams; it is the way society expands its freedom, explores the forbidden in safety, loosens up. Society needs its dream art, just as an individual needs to dream or will go insane. Our moral majority society, bent on going backwards into the violent blank rigidity of a censored mind, needs taboo breaking dreams to get back to freedom. Performance is perfectly suited for this dream role. At the present time, our society is at a fork in its growth. It can go deeper into high tech impersonal isolation, or it can rediscover the magic that happens when physical and emotional humans actively and directly link up with one another. Art can either just follow society, just recording the trends, or it can take a pathbreaker role. I am talking to you artists who are not as lucky as I am to have a physical reminder that they are misfits of society whose job it is to push back the limits of society. This is a reminder that we misfits are still needed.

Mother's Day from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

Performance art, the art of performance, is rooted in the private games of babies where every move and gesture has its own meaning to the baby it is rooted in the creative and the destructive games that a little kid does when he is all alone games that adults still do, but will not admit to doing, even to themselves.

One of the main criticisms I get is that my art is old fashioned, a throwback to the 60’s. I find this funny because the roots of the art are much more old fashioned than that, going back to the cave.

Performance obviously goes much farther back than 1909 when it became a formal art form. The Futurists were reacting to the bankruptcy of formal art, with its gallery power scene, the elitism of art, the money, the politics, and the social scene of art. This is a true but a one sided view of why performance appeared at that time.

I think performance came into existence to fill a void in western life. The void was the lack of magic and inspiration. The two areas of creativity, theatre and religion that traditionally were the source of this magical inspiration had long ago moved from magic to entertainment and politics. This void also gave birth to psychology during that same time period. I often get the criticism that my work is really psychology and therapy, and not art. When it is realized that psychology as a formal science and performance as a formal art were born at the same time, this criticism can be answered. Performance and psychology are both involved in spiritual healing by digging into the hidden mysteries of life.

The dynamic of seeing art is not the fundamental dynamic of art. The doing of art is art’s basic dynamic. The doing of art and having other people see the art work are two separate dynamics, events, rituals. The seeing of art is what the viewer or listener does in her head. The doing of art is the ritual of creation, is what the artist does. In reality, this ritual has more to do with the act of doing than the act of creating. When a child first draws crazy lines on the wall, he is not trying to create something…but to do something for some effective purpose that our linear logic cannot grasp. The crazy person does his insane rituals, not to express himself but to keep the sky from falling or to make pain go away. And it works. The sky does not fall down. Maybe it is because of the rituals of the insane.

A SACRIFICE from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

The very act of doing changes the whole universe. This is a key principle of magic. By doing a ritual or by speaking a spell, you can effect change. Painting a picture, doing a dance, writing a poem, any act of art can be a magical ritual, the doing of which has nonlinear effects. Seen in this way, most acts of creation are private rituals done in personal caves. What we usually think of as works of art are aftermaths of art.

The problem with our modern frame of art reality is not that we make art to be seen, but that we have forgotten (or have been made to forget by those who control what is to be seen and what is not) that the power of doing art is the main power of art. The private performance is a way to regain the magical power of the doing of art. Defining what a private performance is is an interesting way to enter the magic. I define it as a ritual that is not for an audience. It is something that has to be done, something you may not even want to do. One of the easiest to frame as a private performance is a shaman going to his secret spot to do rites nobody will see to open himself up for channeling visions that he cannot personally use or tell anyone about. We have seen other obvious private performances the child, the madman, the artist alone doing art. We can add things like doodling, singing in the shower, playing invisible drums to the radio when you are safe alone in your room. It is something that has to come out. It is something too silly, too taboo, too sacred, too intense, too raw, too vulnerable to be done in public, to be expressed. This may be where real art begins. This kind of doing by one person is clearly private performance. It has an element of secrecy and undercover. I can remember singing on my bed along with the radio, quickly stopping when anyone opened the door, not wanting to be exposed, not wanting to lessen the magic. And now I sing in rock clubs.

The hidden ritual not only kept me from insanity (some people will say that makes it therapy, not art), but opened nonlinear routes of possibilities not only for me, but for everybody. The private performance gives the artist freedom from limits and shoulds and morals, so that she can go beyond where the society or culture or the consciousness has reached, to connect to the universal power. By doing this she brings a new universal area into this reality.

first published here: http://www.eroplay.com/Cave/shaman.html#WritingAnchor

Comments are closed.