Artist Talk: (Kelly Kaczynski)
Lecture: Surface Aesthetics: The Table as a Site of Performance (Ira Murfin)
Proceeding from a prompt to discuss a theatrical structure, this talk takes up the recurrence of a minimalist impulse for individual artists to stage formally simple performances seated at tables. Surveying occurrences of this presentational structure across artistic disciplines, Murfin identifies an enduring theatrical format that sets non-dramatic and anti-spectacular performances in quotidian physical circumstances, which are nonetheless formally available to uniquely theatrical relationships and modes of address. Focusing on the case of Spalding Gray, whose use of the table in his autobiographical monologues helped define a performance genre, Murfin examines the development and circulation of Gray’s table performances through their mediated representations and the citational practices of the artists he influenced. More broadly, this talk places Gray’s work within a network of mutually legitimizing table performances that includes intentional artworks by cross-disciplinary performers from John Cage to Bill T. Jones, and the vernacular performance repertoire shared by newscasters, teachers, panelists, interviewers, first dates, and breakfast partners sitting, and performing, at tables. Tracked across time, context, and media the table maintains its authoritative and authenticating force, suggesting the ways that performance structures come to establish and assert themselves, sometimes without even having to settle on their own status as theatre.
Performance: Our Theatrical Future: A Talk Duet Between Hong Kong and Chicago (Re-Performed)
Conceived by Ira S. Murfin
Created by Ira S. Murfin with Aaron Kahn + Guest Artists
Performed by Ira S. Murfin + Guest Artist (Kelly Kaczynski)
Ira is a graduate student in Chicago. Aaron is a yoga instructor in Hong Kong. They have been making theatre together and not making theatre together for over 20 years. On December 10th 2014 in Chicago and December 11th 2014 in Hong Kong they had a conversation via video chat over the internet, in the way it is possible to do now. They talked about theatre they have made together and theatre they have not made together and theatre they might make together someday. At each performance of Our Theatrical Future a different Guest Performer from a distinct artistic background joins Ira onstage to re-perform his conversation with Aaron, and Ira and the guest have a conversation of their own about making art and not making art, or whatever else comes up.
About the Participants:
Kelly Kaczynski is an artist working within the language of sculpture. Selected exhibitions include Ortega y Gasset Projects, NY; Soap Factory, MN; Comfort Station, IL; Gahlberg Gallery, IL; threewalls, IL; Hyde Park Art Center, IL; Rowland Contemporary, IL; University at Buffalo Art Gallery, NY; Triple Candie, NY; Islip Art Museum, NY; Josee Bienvenu Gallery, NY; DeCordova Museum, MA; Boston Center for the Arts, MA. Public installations include projects with the Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA; the Interfaith Center, NY; Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston and the Boston National Historic Parks, MA; Boston Public Library, MA. Curatorial projects include the 2014 exhibitions, Roving Room at Habersham Mills, GA and Virtually Physically Speaking at Columbia College, Chicago, IL and the 2011 exhibition Mouthing (a sentient limb) at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL. She received an MFA from Bard College, NY and BA from The Evergreen State College, WA. She has taught with Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Kaczynski currently is a Lecturer with the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL.
Ira S. Murfin is a Chicago-based writer, theatre artist and scholar. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre & Drama at Northwestern University, where his dissertation examines talk-based performances in the post-1960s American avant-garde. He also holds degrees in writing from New York University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Critical and creative writing has appeared in Theatre Topics, Theatre Journal, Theatre Research International, Review of Contemporary Fiction, 491, elimae, Fiction at Work, Chicago Art Criticism, Chicago Arts Journal, and Requited, where he is now also the Performance Editor. His solo and collaborative performance work has been seen at MCA Chicago, Links Hall, the Rhinoceros Theatre Festival, and the Chicago Cultural Center, among other places. Ira is a member of two ongoing theatrical laboratories: The Laboratory for Enthusiastic Collaboration (LEC), a collective concerned with the unique phenomenon of the performance event, and the Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials (LDSM), which makes collaborative performances about cities and science. He is currently a Chicago Shakespeare Theater PreAmble Scholar and a Graduate Affiliate of the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, this summer he will be a 2015 Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Fellow.