Wednesday, 24 February 2010

What is Performance Art?

Last night I was lucky enough to witness the most real form of performance art. I went to an event called Horseplay (a monthly evening of spoken word and music at the Sanctuary) hosted by Ash Ffrench and Hattie Snooks.

Apart from enjoying pancakes and performances by The Bobby McGee's, Bernadette Cremin and Steve Larkin the audience got treated to a real surprise.

Before the main act came on Ash asked Hattie to turn her back to him on stage. He said a lot of nice things about her and how happy he was to be hosting Horseplay's 2nd birthday party with her. And all of the sudden he went down on his knees and proposed! Thoughts like "Is this part of the show?" crossed my mind ... and of course it was part of the show, but even so it was sincere and Ash & Hattie are getting married! (What made it slightly surreal was that Bernadette (who didn't have a clue and don't know the couple very well) blurted out "are you going to propose to her?" earlier in the evening.)

They might not agree with it being performance art, and I don't like labelling people, but I'm fascinated by the concept "performance art". In the beginning of January I went to see a show called "Kim Noble will die" at Soho Theatre in London. It was a one-man show where the artist/actor played himself as a suicidal desperado who handed out his own spunk in little plastic containers to the audience ... It might sound sick, but still there's nothing I like better when the line between truth and fiction, performance and real life is very thin.

While I'm on the subject I also have to mention that my best friend in Sweden married herself last year and about twenty people turned up to her ceremony. When she first thought of the idea she didn't intend to make art or put on a show or performance. It was other people starting to label it as performance art ...

And I think it's quite artistic to propose to someone on stage. Label or not.

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