In my home town, and probably yours– there is a Walmart Supercenter with a McDonalds Express situated near the dairy coolers. Just outside of the McDonalds entrance is a bench with a lifesize Ronald McDonald, his arm extended so that you could sit next to him and feel his cool fiberglass embrace.
Ronald is an example of a performance prompt that exists in everyday life. A heightened moment that you can take part in, creating a fissure between the way you act as yourself, shopping for Greek yogurt – and the way you act for another – snuggling up to Ronald so your shopping partner can upload an Instagram picture with an appropriately witty hashtag.
While you are hanging out with Ronald and posing for pictures that will later been seen by others as some heightened public image of yourself – the guy selecting the unbroken carton of eggs has caught wind of your performance and is now watching both you and your friend with the iphone, working to create the perfect image.
There’s a lady with a stroller who just picked up a carton of rice milk and is headed toward the eggs but stops and notices the guy blocking it while watching your pretty amazing display of everyday public performance. As the baby sleeps quietly, she pauses to watch him with the carton of eggs, still in hand, watch the two of you. An Everyday Ruckenfigur.
As the baby begins to wake up, the guy looks back to see the lady holding a carton of rice milk watching him – at which point, she sets down the milk and realizes – she too, may be a part of this performance.
In another place, not too far away, the Instagram app is opened at a stoplight. And your picture with Ronald is there for all of your followers to see. This is a documentation image of your performance. The thing is, they only see you. And up until this point – or, in a moment when the baby begins to really scream – you only see a projection of you for your friend and all of your followers.
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I am interested in creating situations that prompt a performer to negotiate the space between acting and being. It’s in this space that the viewer too, becomes a performer. This switch of roles in the viewer is prompted by an awareness that is discovered through a series of prompts – created for the study and articulation of an inarticulate space the performer is navigating.