“the moment that you act as a performer, you act also as the audience of the person in front of you” (2016)
Performance theorist, Richard Schechner says, “any behavior, event, action, or thing can be studied ‘as’ performance, can be analyzed in terms of doing, behaving and showing”. “To perform” he describes, can be the actions doing and showing doing, as well as the reflexive attempt of explaining showing doing. “The moment you act as a performer…” is a twelve-screen digital video installation that presents art students doing everyday actions, such as sitting and standing. The students in front of the camera are art students from The Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Abe also appears on six of the screens, in rainbow-coloured face paint – a different colour for each student - on the other side of the camera. Abe is seen on screen as though on a video call.
The quotidian actions that Abe asked the students to do were likenesses to heterosexual and homosexual men and women. This doing relates to an element of performance Schechner calls “restored behaviour,” which can also be applied to performances in everyday life “in relation to social and personal circumstances". Schechner does go as far as saying that everyday actions can be considered as performance. So the simple practice of sitting or standing – restored behaviour, rehearsed or repetitive - can be considered performance. The showing doing becomes relevant in the case of video work because the relay of events that produce such work – the action, the filming and then the showing – comprise performance. However it is necessary that the video have an audience. During the different stages of the production of this work, the video did in fact have an audience, both in Berlin and in The Hague.
The titled of the work is taken from an essay by Yota Ioannidou.
The rendering that you see on the page was designed by Eto Otitigbe.