Today at PSi (which will likely be yesterday by the time I post this), in between panels on global art objects, global art markets, and ethico-political aesthetics, I took in the following performance/praxis events:
1. Ron Athey's Incorruptible Flesh: Messianic Remains, the fourth instalment in a series of performances continuing the artist's exploration of the borders between pain and pleasure, life and death, the sacred and the profane, using his own body as canvas, was profoundly disappointing. One of only two ticketed performances as part of the conference, the piece lasted all of 30 minutes, 10 of which were taken up with a pre-show ogling and greasing up of Athey's prone and splayed body. The rest was a sometimes funny, mostly pretentious ode to finding the sublime core in the trashy life and filthy death of Divine.
2. Marcia Farquhar's Long Haul is a durational monologue in which the artist talks for 10 hours and 50 minutes, the length of time it takes to fly from London to Palo Alto. I dropped in on the conversation on two separate occasions, once at the beginning and once at the 7 hour mark, and while Marcia was understandably more tired on the second occasion, I still found her utterly captivating. And although she made a point of saying near the beginning that critics never talk about her work in relation to her body, I found her frank incorporation of her fleshly being into her anecdotes about her family and the regimentation and repression and rebellion that accompanied growing up in the UK from the 1950s-70s to be far more compelling than Athey's exhibitionist star turn.