RUN RUN RUN RUN RUNRUNRUNRUN RUN WITH ME PLEASE
ADJUA GARGI NZINGA GREAVES
In “run run run run runrunrunrun run with me please,” I jogged for ten minutes before an assembled crowd while a pre-recorded audio track requested audience participation in my action and counted down the cycles left to be completed.
Relatively new to this field of artmaking, I created and performed “run run run run runrunrunrun run with me please” to further—and specifically—explore the experience of framing one’s life as art, to test the effect of repetitive entreaty to a (perhaps) unpleasant task, and share the experience of collective action.
Dressed in iconic athletic gear, gazing out over the audience, avoiding eye contact in order to create a personal/performative zone, I ran alone to the score for three or four minutes before an audience member got up to run with me. The rest of the audience remained seated on the floor and surrounding couches while this new runner established his relationship to me. I eventually acknowledged his participation by rotating toward him and establishing eye contact. The audio track continued and I remained silent as other audience members began to participate. Every time a new person joined the action, I would turn toward them and establish eye contact.
The content of the audiotrack was read in a “female” computer-generated voice and began with a countdown from ten to one (with “one” read as “Run!”). In the same voice, the track then cycled through the following text twenty times:
“run run run run runrunrunrun run with me please / run run run run runrunrunrun run with me please / run run run run runrunrunrun run with me please / run with me please just pick up your KNEES! / run run run run runrunrunrun run with me please / run run run run runrunrunrun run with me please / run run run runrunrunrunrun run with me please / run with me please contract this awesome disease!”
After a smattering of individual shifts into participatory roles, a socially critical mass seemed to have been achieved, and the bulk of the still-seated audience collectively rose to their feet and began jogging.
I then circulated through the crowd—now much like a cocktail party, full of chit chat and introductions—and directed my attention at the few still-seated audience members, and after engaging with every holdout I could, jogged up to the stage to count down the final cycles of the piece along with the room full of jogging participants.