Witness

“[Witness] turns compliant spectators into accountable witnesses.”    
 
–Marcela Fuentes, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies, Northwestern University (full review)

 

"Your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only."
–Walt Whitman, To a Stranger

 

Witness is a performance for one viewer at a time. The viewer is configured as accomplice to the performance event, a ritual in which the tenuous mantle (or blindfold) of power is borrowed, trafficked, and stolen.  The Witness is asked to act, to sign their name, testifying that they have willingly taken part.  The question then lingers: in what, exactly, have they taken part?

My essay on Witness can be found in Platform 6.1: Spectatorship and Participation  (Autumn 2011). 

Exhibition history:

  • 2014: Hemispheric Institute Encuentro, PHI Centre, Montreal, Canada
  • 2012: Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival (M:ST 6), Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2011: 3 x 2 x 3 # 1, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (info)
  • 2011: UCLA Dept. of World Arts and Cultures MFA Upstarts Series
  • 2011: TOO MUCH! A Queer Performance Marathon, Dance Mission, San Francisco
  • 2010: Catalytic: Networks/Community/Participation, California State University, Long Beach
  • 2010: POW!POW!POW! action art festival, San Francisco

photos courtesy of Heyward Bracey, Nguyen Nguyen, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions