JANEY SMITH STARES INTO SPACE
JANEY SMITH, JAQUELINE BROWN
Janey Smith stared into space in a room for three hours. It was supposed to confront the problem of loneliness, alienation, and intimacy by creating a space of boredom, provocation, and wonder. Instead, it became a performance in which I attempted to seduce the performer, Jacqueline Brown, who had performed before me.
- I arranged all the chairs in the room. I tried to create an open space. I wanted people to enter that space. I wanted people to enter space. 2. I removed all the evidentiary materials and documents from workers who preceded me from the shelf along the east wall. I cleared the desktop of all paper and tape and pens. I felt ready to work. 3. I placed three palettes in a corner of the room. I placed one palette in the center of the room near the desk. 4. I asked the worker before me, Jackie Brown, to sit with me on the palette in the center of the room. I asked her to take my hand. 5. I sat on the palette in the center of the room with Jackie Brown. On the palette was a laptop computer, a backpack, two cell phones, a cup, and a cassette tape that Jackie had found in the street. 6. We decided to imagine that the palette we were sitting on was a raft and that the floor all around us, a river. We put our shoes in the river. 7. We held hands.
From there many things happened. But, I am limited to only four hundred words. Let me just say this: Jackie and I found each other. We held hands. We talked. People came and went. Most people witnessing the performance could not tell it was a performance. Other people, more familiar with us, wondered what the fuck was going on. Although Jackie and I broke down certain social constraints that prohibit people from getting to know one another, we were too focused on each other to let people in on what we had discovered. Thus, the performance failed. What worked was that two people sick to death of a world of disgust agreed during a moment of artistic work-one that was not planned-to get to know each other in front of everyone.
You want revolution? Now you try that. Approach a stranger, take their hand, tell them you love them before they say a word, ask them to sit with you, tell them you’ll listen, tell them you’re in this together, tell them everything’s going to be okay, tell them you want them. That’s revolution. That’s the reason-among other foisted ones-that this submission will be rejected.