Goat Island’s ‘Letter to a young Practitioner’ is a collaborative piece of writing by a group of Artists and was delivered for the first time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on March 16th, 2000. We were tasked with reading the letter and creating a performative element inspired by the writing. The letter is a mixture of advise “#1. Remember other people.” ( Mitchell et all, 2000), segments of poetry “I forgive you all the endless hours you were away.” (Mitchell et al, 2000) and thoughts or memories “I saw a man climbing muddy down a rocky mountainside on hands and heels dragging his bottom along the slippery wet stones.” (Mitchell et al, 2000). As Artists, we were somewhat inspired by the letter and felt there was some valuable advise among the letter.
When working in the gallery space, we came across a table with benches either side and hidden space underneath them. We took inspiration from the advise “Make Small Plans” (Mitchell et al, 2000) and their concept of using fear, and decided to lay hidden in the space under the bench. We remained silent hidden for a while, until we were spotted by a concerned looking museum worker. The woman yelped in fright when she saw us and said “there’s a dead body down there”,”is that person alright?”. I found it interesting that the woman didnt think to actually ask if I was alright personally or make actual contact with me. When eventually told that we were drama students, she seems quite frustrated and angry, saying it wasnt what she expected to see when she turned up at work.
It made me think that even people who worked at Art Galleries still found performance Art challenging and baffling so to think that our piece will be understood or resonate with all the audience who see it is ludicrous.
“Don’t labor under the burden of importance” ( Mitchell et al, 2000) is probably the line that stayed with me the longest after reading this letter, and it will certainly inform my work
Picture from: http://www.ps122.org/the_lastmaker/
Mitchell et al (2000) Letter to a Young Practitioner .[online] Chicago. Available from :http://www.goatislandperformance.org/writing_L2YP.htm [Accessed 30 March 2015].