There was a large grey industrial carpet delineating an arena or stage space. At one corner was a four foot tall brick and mortar turret leaning on its side. Wrapped around its midsection was a large rope that was, in turn, threaded through a pulley mounted to the ceiling and positioned so that I could easily hang, suspended, diagonally across from the turret. By doing so, I wanted to draw a line both literally and metaphorically between my face and the chunk of masonry.
The scenario was simple enough, except for the fact that I had mistakenly assumed that the brick turret weighed more than I did. In fact, the reverse was true, perhaps by only a few pounds. The result was that, as I was hanging upside down, faced pressed to the carpet, I began to ever so slowly pull the turret toward me. My body contorted and crumpled under its own weight. The turret, on its side, gently gathered the carpet as it went, pulling it along in its wake. In that moment, the piece was completed in a way I could have never imagined.
The work I am describing was not a performance in the formal sense. I have, in the past, “performed” actions, gestures and tableaus. Over the years, my career as a visual artist has never quite escaped the gravitational pull of the live action. This performance occurred prior to an exhibition capping off a two-month residency at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. There were only a few people in the room, including a friend taking pictures. I felt that there were too many loose ends for it to be a performance in front of an audience. Too many awkward stages of getting “in” and “out” of the piece. Besides, the moment I was after was so fleeting and in the end completely unexpected.