In his influential diatribe against spectacle, his famous letter to M. D’Alembert, Jean-Jacques Rousseau punctuates a moment of anti-theatrical paranoia with words from the Roman historian Suetonius. When he highlights the dramatist’s sovereign power over actor and character themselves, Rousseau uses Suetonius’ words to underscore the fact that dramatists can force their characters to act “invitus invitam,” “against his will” and “against her will.” Rousseau, however, adds a third term; he proclaims the characters depart “invito spectatore,” “against the will of the spectator.” Rousseau’s fears stem from a belief that the spectator’s will is at the mercy of the spectacle-maker.
Over the course of two weeks, four collaborations between poet and performance artist will be presented at Greene Exhibitions.
On June 3rd, The American Laboratory, in special collaboration with drag performer Sausage Patty, will perform “Big Sir.” The American Laboratory is a partnership between Michael Stablein Jr. and Kirin McCrory, based in New York City, which mines components of the American Experience to develop works of experimental performance. “Big Sir” is a concert performance on compassed gender and mythologies of the West.
On June 5th, Gerald Maa and Mary Burge will perform “Dress, Score, Tether,” a piece that seeks to activate the space of the gallery with a tension built between writing and gesture. Maa, a formalist poet, and Burge, a technology-focused visual artist, seek to draw parallels between verbal and visual rituals, and how the destruction of one affects the other. Attendants might get marked by charcoal during the performance; please dress accordingly.
On June 10th, Brandon Som and Rebecca Pappas will reframe recitation as a choreographic act, considering the mouth’s movement in speech as an intimate and on-going performance. Pappas is a choreographer and scholar who is inspired by small-scale choreographies, performances built in community, and the mental and physical gymnastics of speech. Som is a poet whose work explores sound, writing, and the racialized body.
The program concludes on June 12th with Fred Moten and Wu Tsang. A prominent poet and theorist, Moten has a career-long interest in studying and cultivating black avant-garde practices. Tsang is an artist, filmmaker, and performer who has presented his projects at the Tate Modern, the Whitney Museum, and MOCA.
A publication of Invito Spectatore will offer space for viewers to contribute to the discussion by including written responses, both creative and critical, from spectators. In addition to documentation of the performances, the book will publish responses commissioned as well as selected from an open submission process.
Greene Exhibitions welcomes all to participate in this expansive program that examines one’s agency of word, action, and sight, both inside a gallery setting and out of it. All performances start promptly at 7pm. For more details about the program, please visit www.spectatore.com.