project image
Kikuko Tanaka / Agape Enterprise
TEA WILL BE SERVED

first performed on December 18, 2011
Agape Enterprise, Brooklyn, NY
performed once in 2011

THE BUREAU OF SELF-RECOGNITION

Chloë Bass

Brooklyn, NY
bureauofselfrecognition@gmail.com
bureauofselfrecognition.tumblr.com

TEA WILL BE SERVED
THE BUREAU OF SELF-RECOGNITION

The Bureau cordially invited guests to share a cup of afternoon tea at Agape Enterprise. What does it mean to have a daily cup of tea? “Tea Will Be Served” was

a mediated tea and conversation about how what we do shapes us into who we are.

Guests were coordinated into pairs and asked to answer a series of questions focusing on the structure of daily behaviors. A set of serving exercises required guest participation, flipping the service expectation on its head. Rather than simply sitting and receiving a cup of tea, tables were wearable (and thus portable), and guests were guided as they moved around the space to collect the tea things. Interspersed with these activities, tea “menu” questions were asked in dialog. Each partner received a slightly different menu. Concluding the session, photographer TJ Hospodar took a large format portrait of each pair of guests, both to commemorate the experience and to generate materials for the upcoming Bureau of Self-Recognition solo exhibit at Momenta Art (2013). Guest responses to the tea questions will be used to provide information that shapes future activities/exercises

that the Bureau of Self-Recognition will present both to live audiences and on the web.

“Tea Will Be Served” primarily addressed the relationship between expectations and reality. Through a series of relatively normal behaviors turned on their head, the performance explored how “making strange” can illuminate both the moment itself and our understanding of the everyday. The performance also aimed to make guests, rather than the artist, the central featured performers, generating the “watched” content for themselves as they experienced it. The artist served only as mediator and guide.

TEA MENU: Set A

Please ask your tea companion the following questions:

Have a seat. / What are three things you do every day? / Boil water. / Why do you keep doing things you don’t like? / Brew tea. / How do you define The Daily? / Pour tea. / Where do you most notice yourself during your daily? / Season to taste. / Why is tea for two? / Drink.

TEA MENU: Set B

Please ask your tea companion the following questions:

Have a seat. / What are three things you do every day? / Boil water. / When are you going to stop doing things you don’t like? / Brew tea. / How do you define your daily? / Pour tea. / How do we share the daily? / Season to taste. / What constitutes a ritual? / Drink.