I literally have not seen a live art performance since I was 19. Whatever happened to them? They seemed like they were going to be the next big thing then I never saw them again. Considering all the times I’m out and find myself in a room full of people looking around at each other like they’re waiting for something to happen, you would think live performance art would be as common as fashion shows. Maybe it’s better that they’re not common, but I’m not sure that sort of expression would ever get blown. When you get more into these forms of art, they are virtually limitless. This past weekend was a mind blow. I figured I was taking a trip upstairs to thirtyninehotel to see Clones of the Queen, but when I got there, that was pretty much the furthest thing from the truth.
The first thing I saw was photographer Omer Kursat’s wife Dee, holding a section of magnetic tape that had been unraveled. She was just sitting there against the wall like everything else was normal, save for holding that tape. I looked to where the stage should be, but the band was playing on a riser in the center of the room, as if it were background music. Omer was kicking one of nearly a hundred white plastic bags filled with something to make them extra trash-like. Five or six people were crowded around a man sitting with a television over his head, suspended from the ceiling. Just his face was showing, so they were taking that opportunity to cover his face with glow-in-the-dark paint. There was also a girl in her own playland of bubbles and a suspended picture frame with more magnetic tape stretched behind it, continuously being raveled around curious guests who, like me, were just coming to listen to Ara’s band. The separation between the people performing and the people observing diminished as more guests were encouraged to participate. A smiling co-ed slowly wrapped me in the magnetic tape and walked away, forcing me to follow her around the room to three or four of her colleagues lying in the fetal position on the floor. Another wooden beam was suspended with tons of the tape spooled on top that everyone started pulling on. The girl handed me a piece of tape so I could join them. We all kept pulling, burying the kids lying under the beam until they looked like something from a horror film. I pulled at my roll of tape until it was done, and then I grabbed another roll and pulled at that. It felt great. The night continued with sidebars around the room; crowds of people gathered to watch and others even joining in. “I had to look up avant garde,” a bleeding Gelareh later told me, covered in a white fluffy substance from jumping into a cardboard box and throwing around white plastic bags filled with things along with one of the performance artists. I thought the blood gushing from her hand was part of the show but was quickly scoffed at. “This is art,” she said waving her hands around the room; “This is death,” she said holding up her hand. I left there feeling wounded myself, disappointed that there was no further information anywhere about what I had experienced. Maybe that was the point. In any case, thank you, Red Rockets. You made my Friday night.