Abigail Duffty

The art work becomes less a 'work' than a process of meaning-making interactions.' Allan Kaprow Since 2007 I have been working under the pseudonym of the Institution of Meaningful Interaction (IMI), which has been a platform for participatory live art. Creating events/happenings that set out to redefine the relationship between audience, object, space and performer through play. Using the observations of everyday situations to engage the audience into ritual activity that highlight our humanity. Through out the last year I have become interested in the relationships between 'self' and the 'other', in relation to connecting through contemporary modes of communication such as the social networking sites and the use of technology as the extension of man. Which in turn highlights that we are defined by the 'other' and how we don't exist within a vacuum. Drawing inspiration from such works of the Happenings in the 1950s and 1960s IMI has set out to develop the idea of a contemporary Happening. Flux, the state that the audience and the performer find themselves in during a performance has also become an important part of my researching area. Looking into how the performance space 'provides a sense of immediacy, feedback, and direct communication' as Lucy Lippard mentioned in Leaving Art: Writings on performance, politics, and publics, 1974-2007 by Suzanne Lacy. By creating performative installations from low-fi materials such as cardboard, paper mache, paint and so on the audience is invited into the immersive world. Upon entering the performance space the audience take on the role of performer by interacting with the mechanical objects within the space. In doing this they begin to create a dialogue between objects, space, audience and performers. This dialogue creates this sense of immediacy and feedback that Lucy Lippard state, by a direct communication from one being the audience to the other being the object. I use oversized everyday objects that have mechanical elements in order that when the audience interacting with them they enter into a state of play. The use of humour creates a comfortable environment for ritual tasks to take place. Allowing for the audience member to cross the threshold of reality into the hyper reality of the performance space, suspending their belief for the duration of the event/happening. In this process of play the audience begin to partake in meaning-making interaction through the use of direct communication with the objects and other members of the audience in the immersive world. This meaningful interaction is where I would like to continue my research and develop my practice. read full statement

Location Birmingham, West Midlands