Is this sentence performance art? (Maybe!)

What does performance art mean to you? Tell us here!

We, the New York Neo-Futurists, do solemnly declare that performance art can be best defined among those who practice it as

[insert your definition of performance art here]

Our show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, is an ever-changing menu of 30 plays in 60 minutes, performed in a random order decided by the audience. In these plays, we present ourselves and our stories as truthfully as possible, in a non-illusory aesthetic, and we embrace unpredictability, spectacle, task-based performance, and chaos. We share these tenants with Dadaists, Surrealists, Postmodernists, and the original Futurists.

This is why we decided, with some trepidation, to attempt to define performance art, a task akin to defining “music”, or “happiness,” or “fair play”. Most everyone has seen some type of performance art, so we decided to ask audience members we found on the streets of New York.

It is generally agreed upon by passers-by and Wikipedia that performance art is something that is seen and experienced in time, that is unique or pedestrian, enduring and disposable. The definition is as diverse as those who adopt it. Performance artists generally identify as creators of their own work; they are not conduits of a dictated vision. They are part of a tradition, one that resembles a collage of gum on a backstage bathroom wall labeled “Thesaurus.” Performance art has a relationship to “traditional theatre”. It is performed in that backstage bathroom.

To fit it all in one quotable sentence, we think that performance art is a time-based, irreproducible event that leaves a residual effect in which the artist is the medium.

We think that any performance artist who agrees or disagrees with this statement could easily replace any descriptive word herein with a different word, animal, or non-sequitur of their choice.

For example:

Performance art is a lightbulb bologna combination that doesn’t work right and leads non-traditional performers to question their upbringing.

or

Performance art is a televised golf showdown that features futuristic dinosaur machines in which expectations of peace are hilarious.

or

Performance art is an infinite, political mess that brings citizens to Congress in which the process explores exhaustion.

Performance art leaves the meaning of the message up to the viewer. Performance art is an idea in time brought to life. That “Performance Art” as a concept exists is an opportunity for all who wish to make it.

This video was made by the New York Neo-Futurists.

Written and Performed by Cecil Baldwin, Cara Francis, Dylan Marron, Dan McCoy, Rob Neill and Emma Reaves

Edited by Dylan Marron