Here are some photos from the RAFT show at Helper Gallery, a very cool little place at 495 Rogers in Brooklyn, which featured a tent and video installation called “Fyne, With a Touch of Terror and Scattered Howlers,” built by my friend and collaborator, Matthew Caron. I performed a text message-based piece in a tent he built out of window screen, which nicely absorbed video. The whole night was about summer travel. And through text messages before and during the show, I solicited audience-derived content of varying media (field recordings, video, voice and photo) that related to summer travel. So as the show got going, I looped footsteps of myself walking on a gravel road near my mom’s house in Hartington, Nebraska. Then I sent audience members in various group messages a site-specific picture. Through the 10-person group messages I built, the process exponentiated and the sound of ring tones going off in the room was a good indication of the hyper-activity.
I became a portal of sorts, which allowed me to take the audience on a journey to beaches, roads, canyons, birthday parties and barns. Also, there were notes and pics sent by those who were elsewhere, like Laura Ortman, who submitted a walking sound note from Canada and Ted McGrath, who, from Maine, submitted a spoken-minute detailing his painting residency. Per usual, my mind felt fried when I finished. It’s a feeling that is hard to explain, but best I can say is that when I’m doing these text-based pieces, responding to my audience and looping incoming and utilitarian sounds from my phone, I am at a switch board that connects me to the audience, the audience to itself and the audience back to me. It’s a mutual presentation of ourselves that is in its essence, “loopy,” triggering images in my mind of billions of invisible wires coming out of my chest connecting me and the audience. In this case, to Canada, Maine, Philly and New York and all the places we traveled to this summer.
As I talked to people afterwards, post raft-as-portal, I realized that it takes a while to clear the show-blitz from the halls of my inner being. And I had a thought today that during the shows, my brain evolves into something more digital, despite my analog age. So the mission was achieved and it was to create dialog about summer travel through temporary cell phone matrices. And my understanding of cell phonism got a little deeper. I operate in tandem as an operator of the technology and operator of the audience. Also, Cell Phonism is a new experience that takes time to learn. I’m wondering how the hard drive in my head will down and upload the adventure. The mutualism we experienced through the device was positive and revealing to all of us. On to the next one.
p.s….I received this letter the following Monday:
I’ve been thinking a lot about your performance, thanks so much….
There was an interesting collision between attachment and detachment, virtual and actual. Spiraling reminders that tapped (tap tap tap tap tap tap) in to something personal, but some level of distance that prevented us from getting too close, i.e., “Dear Patrick, my facebook friend… ”
Seeing the audience reflect your posture back to you was pretty cool, bodies holding screens, faces glowing.