Saturday, February 5, 2011

Totus est non ut is videor (scene 2, take 1)

(If you have not read Totus est non ut is videor parts 1 and 2 I strongly suggest that you do. You can access them by clicking on the key word Molestus Creatura at the bottom of this post.)

First Friday came around again last evening, bringing with it another chance for Molestus Creatura to play out en masse. My mood all day was one of harried foulness. I was in a bad mood, a much different mood than I was met with a month ago. Projects, deadlines, rushing from presentations to meetings to getting things done. Harried. Foulness. Or just grumpy and tired if you like that combo better. This impacted my approach to the Molestus Creatura greatly.

First, I made the decision to put hot sauce in with the vinegar. I thought this would act as a bigger warning and beacon for people to not drink.
Hmmmm. The turn out for this particular First Friday in Portland, Maine did not seem as big as compared to January. Few people packed themselves into Sylvia Kania Gallery. More room.
There were a few people who walked into the gallery and made a bee line for the "wine," however it seemed much fewer than in previous months.
We had a good turn out of regular Art Walkers who turn out for the art walk for the art and the company rather than the free wine. Some people who drank the "wine" last month did not do so this month. Curiousier still were the people who saw us out in public, in other parts of our lives and were angry at the "trick we pulled on" them.
Ahhh, we played no trick, love. Only made a point. Reading is not just about words just as communication is not just about words...words seem to encompass a big part of our lives and I will agree as I write these words, that words are very important. But so is how it is delivered, the area around the words and so many other little bits of information and data.
Several times last evening we (I was relieved of my monitoring duties because I was in that foul mood) asked people to "read" the whole piece. To which they would reply, "But I can't read that language!"
In an art gallery, reading is about understanding the imagery, interpreting the visual cues and outputs and gathering information from the whole piece. Pictures, the structure and composition of the piece and the placement of the piece in the room carry as more weight than the words more often than not. The language is multi-sensory.

Finally, the observation that we found ourselves confronted with was this rather nasty one: We would prejudge who we would tell not to drink the "wine." I haven't really wrapped my head around that one because I am scared of it. It was true. Sometimes during the evening anyone of us in the gallery could have intervened and told somebody not to drink but didn't because of something about the person that made us not. It was a nasty bit of humanity that popped up because of this piece: We choose people we think are "worthy."
And worthy isn't the right word. Again I think it goes back to those non-verbal, multi-sensory cues and personal histories. Something about one person will make you talk to them, but a similar set with just a jigger difference with make you refrain from talking to someone else. Again, this is something that scares me and I haven't worked through yet. It is a defense mechanism I believe.
My husband wanted me to do a statistical analysis of the piece. He's crazy. But there would be interesting data therein. Maybe in its next installation. But this installment of Molestus Creatura is finished. I thank you all (everyone who drank the "wine" who didn't, who stood by, who got angry, who was embarrassed, all of you) for taking part. I am humbled.

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