Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So it's Wednesday already and I'm just now getting to posting about the weekend!

On Friday, the ever-active women of Thisisnotashop Gallery were putting on the first ever Fluxus event, conducted by American artist Larry Miller. Held in the Banquet Hall above Cultivate, the description of the event was as follows:

"Arranged & conducted by Larry Miller, a 15 strong team of Dublin based performers will present a series of original Fluxus Scores, including event scores by George Maciunas, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Robert Watts, George Brecht and others. This performance promises unexpected melodies from such instruments as water, balloons, paper, bubbles, combs..."

This didn't really give much indication of the evening's nuances, however, especially if the names don't mean anything to you. This photo was taken by Karl Burke of the space and the performers. (I really kind of hate it when people don't allow you to link to photos, but there are some nice photos you can view at least if you take the extra step of clicking.)

When you first walked in, you saw people walking around with signs strapped to them that said "Look at me," a piece from 1964 by Ben Vautier. Then, as part of the "Fluxcard Event" by Willem de Ridder, some people were handed cards with directions on them, for example to shake hands with the person next to you and give them the card, or to ask as many people as possible to read your card. It made you feel sort of uncomfortable, sort of the way I used to dread the part of mass where you knew you were going to have to shake hands with everyone around you in mass and say "peace be with you," but it warmed the audience up, much like the "peace-be-with-you" handshake. (Did you ever notice that more people sang the hymn right after that handshake than any other song in the service?)

Once the show began, the appearance of Larry Miller in his tux, and the quiet of the audience made me afraid that it would be boring and uncomfortable, and I actually thought for a second god I hope I don't fall asleep. But the first piece, "Shuffle," (1961, Alison Knowles), which consisted of 15 people in a sort of caterpillar-like line shuffling out en masse, made everyone giggle. The performers did a wonderful job of keeping their air of the straight man for the entire duration of the show, which of course made everything funnier. "Snowstorm No. 1" (1965, Milan Knizak) was another of my favorites, and it was the second piece, and at that point anyone who wasn't receptive to the concert had to have been opened up. The performers came on, each with several perfectly folded paper airplanes in their hands. They then started throwing the paper airplanes at the audience, who of course, laughing, picked them up, and started throwing them back! Soon, near about fifty airplanes were flying through the air in all directions. And somehow it sort of naturally died down. The airplanes got lost beyond the periphery of the chairs, or fell down into the chairs. And then the piece lulled to a stop.

Most of the pieces had some kind of element of surprise or humor in them, like one of Larry Miller's called "Remote Music." There was a keyboard in the center of the room. Then Mr. Miller went out off stage behind a screen. The audience is left to wonder how the keyboard is going to play, and what will happen. There's nothing but silence. Then you might start to wonder, "Is that all there is? Is the sound of my thoughts or the sound of the silence, the feeling of expectation, is that the music?" But no. That's when you notice a plaster hand coming down slowly by a string from the ceiling, pointer finger down, ready to hit a note! He had great comic timing, hovering it over the keyboard as the hand sort of spun around on the string. Which note would it play? Then, all at once, it drops down and plays the note, and the entire place jumps because the volume is turned up to +11. Pretty funny stuff, if only because of its simplicity.

There were 36 pieces in all, not counting the "Entry Events" before the "Concert," so I can't of course discuss or describe them all. There were several that involved audience participation, which I think illustrated well what Fluxus is/was all about. At the end of it you do feel not only that you have been educated in some way, but that you have participated in an art event, but not only that, as Mark pointed out, you have had an experience of art that was a moment that cannot be commodified, by nature of the fact that it cannot be replicated, and therefore it is yours to keep, your slice, your "happening," if you will.

Before the show, we were lucky enough to run into two friends on the street, which made me feel like hey, maybe I am making progress here! My first run-in with someone I know randomly on the street! As it turns out, they were headed to the Fluxus show too. Our friend A2 also joined in about 3/4 of the way through the show, and afterwards we all agreed we each were famished so we headed to the Lebanese place that serves (admittedly kinda meh) falafel, and then headed over to a Seomra Spraoi event at this pub called Brokers, which was attached to two other pubs (O'Briens Bar and Mercantile Bar). You had to walk through all three joints to get to the bathrooms, and it was pretty funny to see the difference in the people at each one. At Mark's insistence we hung around in O'Briens and listened to some pop music while watching "all the single ladies" dance their hearts out.

Then on Sunday I spent the afternoon at Seomra Spraoi where there was this even called the "Black Market," which reminded me of a smaller version of the Dublin Flea Market -- there were just over ten tables, I think, selling everything from second hand clothing to comics to paintings to jewelry. I'd like to get a table in a couple of months when it comes around again, but I'd have to make some really low-priced items especially for it, since no one would want to pay my prices for my regular stuff. But I can make some nice headbands, wrist cuffs, and things along those lines pretty quickly and unload them at a few euro each. The challenge (as always) is finding good fabric!

I have more I'd like to right, but this one post has taken me hours so I'm going to get off the computer and get to sewing. I have had a influx of good ideas, and a really nice flow of positive energy lately. I even wrote a new short story that with some revision I think will be pretty decent. I aim to blog more about the fashion stuff over on my other site later...stay tuned!


  1. Angela, I'm glad you liked the shots. I wish I could allow direct linking of pictures but as a professional I have to protect where my photos end up - I hope you understand. If people ask in advance I can tham send a small jpeg that would work for blog use like this I guess. - best regards, Karl

  2. I completely understand! Your photos really captured the event. Linking wasn't so bad..and then people can see all the photos, not just one!