How to Speak TBA 

A Non-Native's Guide to TBA

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For the cultural explorer looking to expand their horizons, the Time-Based Art Festival is a logical choice. But what if you don't speak art-jargon, prefer movies that have plots, and think the only place a bouncy castle belongs is a toddler's birthday party? All is not lost: When it comes to TBA, a little preparation goes a long way. The natives are generally friendly—don't be put off by the lack of direct eye contact, it's a local custom—but it's worth taking the time to learn a few simple phrases.

SOCIALIZING

Don't be afraid to make new friends at TBA! Here are a few guaranteed icebreakers.

• Instead of "I love that your sweater has cats on it!", try: "In your sartorial self-expression, I see a clear reference to the Kunderian definition of 'kitsch' as an 'absolute denial of shit,' and, by extrapolation, a humorous, site-specific commentary on the inherent awkwardness of co-ed bathrooms."

• Rather than, "My, this dance party is bumping!", try this: "These reappropriated 'beats' create a compelling subtextual thesis on the commodification of experience, vis-à-vis communal aural stimulation."

• Upon making accidental eye contact with a fellow festivalgoer in a bathroom mirror, instead of laughing awkwardly and looking away, take advantage of the moment to observe, "Two humans in a room... their connection... mediated by a mirror.... What would Guy Debord have to say about this?"

"HOOKING UP"

TBA is chockfull of attractive, eligible young art lovers—but sometimes striking up a conversation can be daunting. Have no fear! That cute PNCA student can be yours, if you sidle up to the bar with one of these tried-and-true TBA pickup lines.

• "So I've been thinking a lot about the male gaze...."

• "Can I tell you a secret? I actually don't think gender is a construct."

• "Didn't you think there was a lot of unresolved erotic tension in that performance?"

• "Nice cravat. Wanna fuck?"

ART TALK

Don't feel like you have to understand all of the art you see. Memorize a few handy phrases, and you'll be passing for an expert in no time.

• Dance

"By intentionally compromising traditional balletic forms, the artist evokes the psychological birth-throes of the post-colonial Diaspora."

• Visual Art

"The work juxtaposes the byproducts of human habitation—what some might call 'garbage'—with a formal attention to neo-surrealist tropes, making a clear statement on the compromised nature of even our dearest dreams."

• Performance

"The work's inherent self-consciousness forces us to consider the actor, the actor-as-actor, and the audience-as-actor-as-audience, creating a recursive feedback loop that brutally interrogates the very nature of authenticity."

There! Now you're ready to go. Happy trails!

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