By Dawn Kasper
THE ABSURD is an existential research experiment coined site-specific durational performance installation inspired by Albert Camus’s philosophical essay The Myth Of Sisyphus. The hypothesis as analogy or randomized algorithm: The Artist is to Sisyphus as the boulder is to Art. THE ABSURD is formulated to support the presentation of research findings put into practice composed to consist of a durational performance, a series of new photographs, drawings and three large-scale interchangeable sculptural performance environments.
“O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible.” –Pindar, Pythian 3
The durational performance is scored to orchestrate the repetitive futile act of constructing and deconstructing the three large-scale sculptural environments exhibited in the space. This act seeks to emulate the existential affect and process of being and remaining present while in search for meaning. The sculpture is to the boulder as the performer is to the mythical Greek figure Sisyphus who was condemned to the underworld for eternity to repeat the act of pushing a gigantic boulder up a mountain, only to watch it roll back down just before reaching the top.
Channeling THE ABSURD through the repetitious act of installing and deinstalling seeks to invoke the existential search for meaning. Using as an example, let us look at the mythical artist character in search of a contemporary art career. The work of this fictional artist is framed by necessity, impulsively living out a dream-like lost-in-a-rabbit-hole trance, as if bewitched into some surreal hazy OCD loop.
In order to represent the underworld, the gallery will assume inverse gallery hours and the durational performance will take place nightly, after the gallery is closed, from 6pm – 10am. During appointed gallery hours from 10am-6pm one may view the work that was developed while in performance the night before.
The series of new photographs and drawings serve as potential storylines, offering vignettes into the passage of time. Each photograph in the series represents documentation of a previous performance action, story, myth or fable. The drawings serve as a way to develop tone and language.
The three large-scale interchangeable sculptural performance environments foundationally ground the exhibit. Comprised of raw, simple materials, each panel frames out the gallery space while also doubling as a note to a performance score. Constructed to be mobile and compatible, each panel over time will likely become worn and abused, battered and reconfigured.
In theory, throughout the course of the exhibition THE ABSURD will become apparent and prevalent in real time. For six weeks the sculptural environments will trace the performers movements constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed in order to present host to various performances, video screenings, drawings and photographic works. Tracking these movements for the activation of spontaneous yet organized and mathematically planned poetic reconfigurations of the same sculptural environments over and over. The spontaneity and intensity of each action and event will shift often, potentially become routine, come and go, possibly wane over time.