29 January 2014

point and shoot

This work is called "Point and Shoot" and was done in 2013 by Alan and Michael Fleming. I just got back from their artist talk captioned "Relation, Collaboration and the Uncanny." They are identical twins, sometimes living in the same city, sometimes not. Their collaborative work, performance- or object-based, usually builds on their being identical twins (and there's a story there). "Point and Shoot" was done when they were living in Chicago and Brooklyn; each did one of the sculptures. They also played three rounds of Rock, Scissors, Paper by phone and didn't know who won until the hand sculptures were installed in an exhibition.

I couldn't help but think about point-and-shoot cameras as they talked about these two hands which were installed on opposite walls of a gallery. I hadn't thought about the violent side of "shoot" when I said point-and-shoot nor had I thought about the violence of taking a picture which may steal the soul of a person or place. Emphasis on the MAY: if something is visible, it's photographable, especially these days.

When the Fleming twins are doing one of their performance pieces in public, e.g., subway station, loading dock, public building, they are sometimes approached by a policeman, a security person, a janitor, or other interested party and asked to stop and leave. They used to go on and on about their practice but then discovered that they could say it was dance and usually the reaction turned positive. They didn't even have to expound semiotically to confuse the approacher. Sometimes they pretend they speak French and that works. It didn't work for me once, in front of Carnegie Hall before a concert. A man approached me either asking for money or to buy or sell a ticket, I don't remember that detail. I said "Je ne parle pas anglais" or some such thing. And again. A few more minutes later, he came by and asked if I was still speaking French. I felt violated, I'd been discovered a fraud.