Performance/Installation, stARTup Art Fair at Hotel Del Sol, San Francisco, May, 2015


I was invited to do a performance at the stARTup Art Fair at Hotel Del Sol. This is what I proposed to do. The proposal was not accepted in the end.

After dusk when people can see barely, I will ask the organizers to stop the music and the festivities, drawing attention to the performance. I will clear out that area of the corridor on the third floor. Dressed in complete black, I walk in solemnly with a thick scroll on my stretched arms. As I get to the middle of the platform, I stop, in the middle of a spot light that has been turned on beforehand. I then turn toward the courtyard. Before this, I have arranged for an assistant to prepare a contraption (made from a water container with a spigot) hidden inside the room behind me. He now turns on the water spigot. Water starts to flow through a tube down to the pool below.

People will probably hear the sound before they see the water.

I then proceed to make a pronouncement, reading off from the scroll which is a roll of golden and shiny fabric. As I read, the scroll gets unrolled and gradually flows down from my arms outside the balcony toward the pool. The effect is one from the combination of the sumptuousness of the long and flowy golden fabric and the draining feeling engendered by the water coming from under me. This burlesque feeling sets up for the more 'serious' content of my pronouncement - I will be reading off the scroll, one line at a time, first the room number, followed by a dollar amount. The amount is what an artist has to pay to the hotel to show his art in that room.

This is an oblique critique of the state of the art world that the artists are struggling in, made that much more obvious and poignant in this context of an art fair that is designed to help the under-represented artists. Hopefully, it leaves a mark on the audience be they collectors, art consumers, artists or art world operators. My voice isn't necessarily purported to be loud and clear, just matter-of-factly. As is the text written on the scroll, with glo-in-the-dark paint, hence invisible when lit (first it is in the spot light.) Only when it leaves the spotlight and reaches into the dark, the text starts to glow. It reads something like

"rm 103 $3025"
"rm 205 $2050"

As I am done reading the lines from the scroll which is by now almost completely hung from outside of the guardrail, I secure the top to the guardrail. This leaves the scroll flowing down in a sumptuous line of golden flow, with these numbers glowing in the dark. I intend to keep the scroll there for the duration of the art fair. People won't see anything during the day light. Only when it gets dark, people see the text, as an allusion to how the financial aspect of the art operates. The whole performance will last about 5 minutes. Then I walk off as a dark figure. The spotlight is turned off, the water continues to run until the tank is empty.