In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

the slight joke of treating a gorilla as a human being. The in-joke references to the art world and its politics were a further deficit, and so were the constant referrals to the lack of rehearsal and the inevitable technical foul-ups (they did happen). Another section, a slide sequence showing closeups of scars and wounds of Bowery derelicts made me uncomfortable not only because it was extremely distasteful to watch, but because it was just there in a sort of innocence, as if sincerity ("I saw this") were enough. The strength of Discourse, its low-key fantasy atmosphere , slowly dissipated in such sour clouds. By contrast, Ralston Farina's Aleatoireje Ne Sais Quoi was a briefer, more related collection of bits, the whole kept in energetic motion by Farina's fast pacing and nimble comic timing. Many of the skits 34 AleatoireJe Ne Sais Quoi (Farina) were organized around magic tricks, such as an ESP segment in which he reproduced the images drawn by selected audience members on unseen sketch pads. Others were built around other on-thespot drawing efforts: his attempt to trace separate and moving projected transperencies which was followed by a lottery ("random drawings for random drawings "). These acts were all performed with panache as were the slighter ones, a question and answer period and the rapid twisting of television channel knobs on some monitors. The little actions worked as a kind of structural and thematic punctuation to the larger bits and lasted no longer than necessary to get across that idea. Perhaps the only element of Farina's past occasional aggression toward the audience was the penetrating smell of the moth balls which spewed out of his Hugo Ballish costume when he gyrated wildly to open the show; the image was hilarious and worth the forty-five minutes of bitter odor. Aside from that, Aleatoiredidn't deliver much of the mysterious opacity or crazed wackiness of Farina's previous "Portraits of a Half-Hour," but it was a good-natured entertainment by a performer who skews the considerable skills of a nightclub magician toward his own inimitable purposes. John Howell William Hellermnann Nests and En Trances . Art on the Beach (July). On a perfect summer's evening, with a spectacular view of the downtown skyline before me, and the lapping of the Hudson River against the shore behind me, I watV_ ched William Hellermann launch the performance series of "Art On The Beach." His first work, Nests, was an audience participation piece. Members of the audience were invited to cover themselves with large white sheets, making nests in a circle on the sand. Each nest of participants was equipped with a bird call. Hellermann stood at the center of the circle of nests swinging a long tube. As he swung the tube overhead, it created a hollow, low pitched whistle. Participants were instructed to respond to the sounds they heard around them. After the piece began, it was difficult to locate the source of the sounds. Nests created an interesting juxtaposition of man-made sounds mimicking nature in an unusually "natural" setting at the edge of the urban environment. Through this juxtaposition, heightened by the backdrop of the city skyline, the open air beach came to feel much like a theatre. The creation of Seley ll arkas mechanical sounds in a "natural" setting gives way to a notion of distance, metaphorically mirrored and dialectically reinforced by the contrast of city and beach, skyline and shore. The distance from nature created by the artificial bird calls and contrived nests draws attention to nature and natural worlds. The active ingredient of this piece was the performers'response to their feelings about being in a nest. Some felt secure, some felt threatened, some felt complacent. Hellermann's second piece, En-Trances, also involved group participation, although its elements were very different. The audience was invited to form a chain circle, each person sitting behind the nest. The sound was created by the participants /performers singing into one another's backs. As the sounds of the music passed through the group, the search for a tonal center began to develop into a chord. En-Trances created a dynamic...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 34-35
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.