ART :: NOTES FROM THE BUREAU OF SELF-RECOGNITION : CHLOË BASS
I got a Tumblr to share my work, and also posted sets of images on Facebook for feedback. I kept taking photographs. I did a second, very aborted series called Everyday Interiors, about how where I go shapes who I am. At the same time, I developed a fascination about creating performances that don’t have my body in them. I like live situations but I do not always want to be watched. I initially made the transition from theater to performance art because I was already feeling conflicted about audience. In truth I don’t really believe that there should be people who only watch. I want to make work that is absolutely shaped by the presence of others: work that cannot exist without the presence of others, and work that is constantly changing because of who those others are. Perhaps this is not performance. Perhaps these are just situations.
In official language (my own), “The Bureau of Self-Recognition is a performance and installation project designed to track the process of self-recognition and its myriad outcomes. Through individual exercises, spatial investigations, video and audio recording, lectures, and experiential performance, the Bureau will bring together the clinical and the personal in a unique institutional environment.” From the first daily exercises that I created for myself, I’m looking to build a kind of exploratory structure that de-emphasizes success in product for consistency of process. I think the results of that consistency are more interesting than any individual artwork I could hope to create at the present time. In addition to meeting many wonderful people through the Bank of the Bureau of Self-Recognition (a program for assessing the non-monetary value of one’s life), Free Consultations (a client based semi-therapeutic interaction — for examples look here and here, and the various presentations and — yes — performances that I’ve publicly enacted, I’ve also found myself creating the best “private” artwork of my life under the auspices of this project. Like teaching, the project consistently engages others while also educating me personally.
This project has five phases: Recognition of the Daily, Introduction of the Other, Public Presentations & Workshops, Full-Scale Installation, and Web Installation. These phases sometimes overlap, but I am attempting to tackle them chronologically, as I often settle for an accidental order of things without considering intent. Beyond the structures of bank and therapy, I’ve also explored the restaurant. In Tea Will Be Served, customers were only seated in units of two, and their menus were a series of questions to ask each other rather than a list of items to order. Every part of the experience was both odd, and designed to increase intimacy. I want to make places where people feel comfortable, even normal, stepping in. Stepping in is what’s expected. This is not a thing just to watch.
You can find the Bureau here: bureauofselfrecognition.com.
I hope you join me. More Field Notes to come. (And stay tuned for the public library . . .!)
Upcoming public appearances:
September 20th, 9:15 PM: “What would you do with . . .?” (A Conversation About Value) at IV Soldiers Gallery.
September 22nd, 9 PM: Social Practice II as part of Performance Anxiety at culturefix.
Through September 29th: Bank Vault installation on view at EIDIA House / Plato’s Cave.
Ongoing: The Bank of the Bureau of Self-Recognition (bureauofselfrecognition.com/