Part of completing the Works to Work Internship is completing a series of assignments. One of the most exciting assignments we were given was to create group art projects. My group decided to create a performance piece. In the beginning, all we knew was that we wanted to do something that involved the audience. It needed to feel ritualistic in order to create a sense of community amongst everyone participating. We ended up standing two plinths in the middle of the room beside each other. On top of both plinths sat a clear decorative glass vase. One vase was full of water and the other vase was empty. For the performance we had everyone stand around the plinths in a circle. The performance began when I broke away from the circle to approach the plinths. Slowly, methodically, and with conscious intention, I poured the water from one vase into the other. After returning the now empty vase to its plinth, I walked towards the audience to take the hand of another person and gently direct them towards the vases. I didn’t need to say anything; the audience is always so perceptive. One by one, they would approach the vases and pour water from one vase to another.
Eventually the rhythm of the ritual changed. When it was Stephanie’s turn, she only poured half of the water out of the vase, breaking the infinite cycle of water transfer. This immediately changed the game entirely. From that point on everyone tried to find different ways of expressing the water pour from pouring the water onto the floor to balancing the vases on top of each other. The performance evolved into something we could not have expected. And once the audience felt invested in it, it was completely out of our control. For us, Stephanie was the catalyst to change how the work was perceived. What Steph really did was create a whole new layer to our concept about ritual and community. The performance was no longer ours, but had become everyone’s; another example of how the artist’s intentions for their art work always becomes transformed the moment it is viewed by others.
Interns participate in the interactive water-pouring performance by Vanessa Mastronardi, Betty-Jo McCarville, Sarah Flowers and Alison Prsa.