WHEN IN DOUBT, AN INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE 

CFA GALLERY, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, 2017

Hidden out of sight, I read a monologue about social anxiety, my voice projected into the gallery through the sound system. After I began reading, people gradually approached the bowls and engaged with the scores. Here are some examples:

 

You are surrounded by a sudden glow. Look up. Giant jellyfish float above you, throbbing with light. Find your pulse. The jellyfish are moving to the beat of your heart. Their slow movements begin to calm your pulse as you watch them move through the room. Find someone nearby. Listen to one another’s pulse.

 

Close your eyes. When you open them, you are enveloped in an intense glow of light. What color is the light? Look around the room. Do you see someone emitting the same color? Go stand as close as you can to them and see the glow double in intensity. Do you see someone emitting a color that is different? Stand close to this person and see the colors blend to create a new color.

Each score was written as an antidote to social anxiety. My goal was to bring people back to an awareness of their bodies – through breathing, feeling their pulse, or the connection between their feet and the floor. Being mindful of the body has been shown to calm the nervous system. The imaginative component for each score was meant to initiate an intervention in the space. For example, one score asked the reader to imagine sea turtles passing through the room. This was something I pictured for myself earlier in the semester at a moment when I felt overcome with anxiety and needed to redirect my mental energy. The scores also, however, invited readers to interact with others in the room without using words. In this way, everyone that participated was in their own world, so to speak, yet seeking connection with others.