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  • I ate a chunk of bread off the heads of these performance artists
    by mallen | March 5th, 2011 |

    IS THIS INTERSTITIAL ART?

    finish line

    5 Responses to “I ate a chunk of bread off the heads of these performance artists”

    1. Ellen Kushner Says:

      Love it! Makes Eddie Izzard’s “Covered in Bees” seem weak & feeble…

      But this makes me wonder: Is *everything* termed “performance art” interstitial, by virtue of its indescribableness and lack of recognizable genre/marketing category?

    2. Mike Allen Says:

      Contemplating that question, Ellen, I find myself wanting to play a sort of Lewis Carroll-ian game.

      I feel like these folks could definitely fall in the interstitial bin. I mean, how exactly do you explain what they do? In this instance, they essentially offered themselves as temporary (living, edible) sculpture.

      And yet there is a term for this, a “genre,” if you will — “performance art.” Most people can hear that term and have a basic idea what that entails.

      So, we can classify it. And yet, does that term actually serve as an explanation, or is it something that functions the same way as “interstitial” or “liminal,” a catch-all term for things not readily describable?

      (Or this could just be a combination of the long day and the caffeine crash. ;-p)

    3. Felice Says:

      I’ve heard Ellen K. speak of the genre-related trouble that bookstores had in shelving & marketing her Riverside books (fantasy, historical…), and Wendy Ellertson speak of the medium-related trouble that art shows have had in deciding which section to put her in (leather, metal, wood, craft vs. art…)

      For me, “interstitial” is a term that’s most useful when a piece of art has run into trouble — trouble of the practical sort (marketing, shelving, describing…) — and part of our Foundation’s mission is to help with that trouble.

      I suppose “performance art” may have originally been a term like this as well, that over time began to convey that widely-known “basic idea of what it entails” that Ellen is referring to, because performance artists flourished and bred and copied each other and established some common vocabulary.

      With “interstitial,” it’s nice to keep the term a moving target, as Delia Sherman has said, so that it can describe whatever art is crossing fresh new borders and is therefore currently having trouble, until either that art spawns a new genre or remains forever unique, yet still gains the attention it deserves.

    4. Felice Says:

      Sorry…that “basic idea” that MIKE is referring to. MIKE!

    5. Ron Bergeron Says:

      It was fun to watch, the curiousness of such a thing – and I have no idea on terminology, besides basics – but it seems so long as concepts of particular pieces, installations, performances are unique, it will seem at least rare enough to always be fresh.
      Anyway, I enjoyed it. Good post Mike!

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