Thursday, April 9, 2015

Artist Post- Ripples (Performance by Matti Havens and Chris Ramos)

As soon as I arrived into the gallery, jobs were being handed out to people in the audience. Some were given the job to throw a baseball into the air, one was told to stand up, open an umbrella, popping balloons, doing cartwheels, throwing paper, even take a picture with the flash on. They were also handed a piece of paper with numbers written on it. These numbers were multiples of 2, 3, 4, etc. The man in charge then began tapping his pencil on his clipboard and started counting (beginning at 1). Then the jobs became apparent, at their number came up they would say the number and do the action/motion they were assigned. Although this seemed like a simple, childish act, it turned this "mundane" activity into an interactive, interesting way to come together. At certain numbers everyone would say the number and the room would become immersed with laughter. 

The activity that followed greatly differed from the first. The two men began playing string instruments, one cradling a guitar and the other lounging a cello across his long legs. The man with the guitar sung throughout the performance. His voice seemed to eerily linger in the room, slightly louder then a whisper. As the man with the cello began to play, his face began to crinkle at the nose as if frustrated with controlling the wild beast that was the instrument. We later found out his frustration stemmed from his lack of paying since 1995. The songs they continued to play after that all seemed to create messages about time and how it affects us and our relationships. The first song, called "Same guy" seemed to communicate the mundane boring activities that become engraved into our lives. It also seemed to portray a depressing day in and day out routine about a man "prescribing all the pills" and "writing all the wills". The songs continued to represent certain relationships described throughout the experiences they had with the musicians. 

The musical portion continued, a video began playing, projected onto a large white screen. The video displayed the man playing the guitar and singing. He was walking down the street, however the display on the left of the screen played everything backwards, morphing in the middle with the right side, which was paying things forward. This was clearly another attempt at portraying time, and how it seems to move fast sometimes so fast, one might wish to go back. He began then playing guitar next to the screen keeping the melody of the music, and continuing to sing "pretty blond girl about to play".

The number counting then began to start again. This time however, it was much more theatrical. Seeing as the first time was just a practice, this time balloons were actually being popped, cartwheels actually being rolled, and umbrellas really being opened. The number counting continued till 180, as everyone screamed in unison the final word. 

Then a basket of fortune cookies were passed around. Mine read "Pass this fortune to your neighbor". This is an interesting fortune on its own, not particularly saying anything but the fortune of passing fortunes. This seemed  fitting for the theatrical show that was being put on. 

A piñata hung from the ceiling; this was the next activity that could've described the performance as a whole. A theatrical explosion of nothingness. As the final hit boomed through the room, money and fortune cookies erupted from the fortune cookie piñata. The fortunes were then written down and we were later informed they would be sung into a song. The result was humorous and playful.

Finally an video was displayed on the screen, as the guitar started playing posters were being hung on the screen making an interactive, chaotic display. As the cellist would stop playing in the video the "real" one would begin playing (mirroring the guitarist as well). It became a video where the men were playing with there electronic self. The result was a ripple effect, as the music stopped in the video the live guitarist carried the melody slowly and softly till it rippled out and away. 

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