Ugh. Does anyone actually want to talk about Keith Hennessy’s Turbulence? How about, instead, we just stay home, get high as fuck, and wobble around our living rooms? We can touch each other. And wear spandex. It’ll be a reenactment! Even if you didn’t see the performance, no matter. The dance is always changing.
Luckily I photo-documented a cardboard list of things that Hennessy shared with us, things that he said he wanted to happen during his performance. Here is what you need to do:
Did I mention, the dance should be about the economy? Oh hey, the dance should be about the economy!
Except it’s okay if it’s not at all about the economy. In fact, if you have a bottle of champagne at home, grab that. Turn your attention to that. Take a sip of that. Now grab a rubber mat. Take another dreg of champagne; dump the rest of it on the mat, and, get naked…Because that rubber mat has officially become a slip'n'slide.*
Be sure to roll around and touch each other for a solid hour. Don’t forget the human pyramid.
In lieu of any drawn-out convo on this ridiculousness (which, you may have gathered by now, was an hour and-a-half of carefree improv BS), I’ll post some quotes I gathered from last night. In chronological order:
“This is some hippie shit up in here.” — Noah Dunham. (The show hasn’t started.)
“Want a donut?” — Dude hanging from the railing. (The show has started?)
“Who wants a donut?” — Donut dude, now in the audience, handing out donuts.
“Aimless.” — Guy in the audience.
“Well, if the party is in option…I’m gonna take that option. And get out of here.” — Woman behind me.
“DICK. I wanna. See. More. Dick." — My friend, now desperate, and hoping they open the floor to audience suggestions.
“I am so over contemporary art. I am so sick of how self-indulgent this field is.” — My friend, the art professor.
“I just want to see something pretty :( ” — Me, five days into TBA.
I understand: art can have value, even if you don’t like it. You don’t have to like a piece of art in order for it to be enriching. I didn't like this piece, obvs. But I also don't see where the value was. And I am very patient with these things!! Since I saw the work, I’ve kept trying to give the performance the benefit of the doubt, insisting to myself, “I must be missing something.” But, no.**
At a certain point, art stops being “difficult” and starts being an abusive and self-indulgent waste of an audience’s time. The majority of the performance felt this way to me, with the few exceptions being when Hennessy got on the microphone, and made some genuinely eloquent remarks on...well, love, essentially. At another point, Hennessy began wandering the stage, inciting, “Get Mad. Get angry. Go to the window.”
And that’s where he left us. Or at least me, and the people around me. I honestly cringe at the fact that, at this moment, there is a fresh batch of people who are walking out of the theater who have just experienced this, and who probably paid to experience this.
That being said, if anyone else saw this piece and has a different take (I hope someone does), please sound off in the comments!
*Still not sure if this was irony or ignorant opulence (re: our fucked economy).
**And I really WANT to appreciate Keith Hennessy’s piece!!! I watched him at Ten Tiny Dances, and I enjoyed him!!! I love his earnesty. He's funny. When he speaks, it’s obvious that he’s smart and talented (not just anyone can balance themselves on a Culligan jug)!