culture / nature / structure

Meghan Moe Beitiks
performance

Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness v.3 (2013)

 

Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness v.3 from Meghan Moe Beitiks on Vimeo.


“A Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness” is an ongoing work in which I perform within a multimedia workspace, creating dialogues between uranium-reducing bacteria, accidents within the Manhattan Project, public apologies, the idea of safe distance, the words of a microbiologist, materials and cultural memes in an attempt to create a trans-human act.

In version 3, collaborator Sarah Knudtson and I ask members of an audience to stand in space according to a diagram of a Manhattan Project nuclear accident. While a clip depicting the accident from the film “Fat Man and Little Boy” plays, these participants are thrown spinach-seed infused seed bombs while Knudtson tapes out blast patterns on the floor. As Knudston sketches images pulled from Manhattan-Project research, I unpack site-specific ideas of safe distance, remediation and recovery. The audience is asked to read along with an interview of a scientist researching uranium-reducing bacteria and to breathe along to a clip of John Cusack. The performance is a half-hour long non-linear journey through the modern meanings of nuclear toxicity, error, our expanded implication and potential collective recovery.

A Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness v.2 / Act of Research v. 1 (2013)

 

Act of Research

Part of “A Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness,” An ongoing work in which I perform within a multimedia workspace, creating dialogues between uranium-reducing bacteria, accidents within the Manhattan Project, public apologies, the idea of safe distance, the words of a microbiologist, materials and cultural memes in an attempt to create a trans-human act.

“Act of Research v.1” is the creation of a benign bomb. Bomb creation is set to a scene from the 1989 film “Fat Man and Little Boy,” in which a nuclear accident is fictionalized. I appropriate imagery and presence from the film in an attempt to create, as Kris Lenz wrote in Fnews, “an alternative reality where art, science and drama meet at a crossroads. In this version, the outcome is not an ecological disaster that could take millions of years to remediate, but instead a conversation where awareness of environmental concerns and solutions are raised and disseminated.” photos by Arjuna Capulong.

A Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness v.1 (2012)

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Car-E-Oke (2012)

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In “Car-E-Oke,” you can choose the make and model of a car and sing along to its exhaust sounds. Regular engine noises have fun karaoke subtitles. But there’s a catch: the sound system is bike-powered. Visitors are encouraged to hop on the bike and “pedal-power” the PA. In addition, I bike every other day of the exhibition, wearing bike shorts, a sequined top, shiny sunglasses, and a fanny pack that emitted sound tracks from classic car chase movies. The sound of the car engine is acknowledged as a kind of soundtrack to our lives.

Car-E-Oke from Meghan Moe Beitiks on Vimeo.

Fixing Experimental Station Chairs (2012)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Experimental Station had a stack of broken chairs. I fixed half the chairs and asked for input from the community as to how I should fix chairs in performance. Then I fixed chairs in performance.

Wear a dress with flowers– Liz Lyon, market volunteer

Wear your hair back, no makeup– Danny White, market vendor

Play music with a rhythm you can fix chairs to– Corey Chatman, LINK manager

The only lighting should be a flashlight– Elizabeth Gadelha, market vendor

You should fix chairs on the floor– Marley Darvassy, son of B’Gabs’ Vegan Deli

I think you’re the “Chairy Godmother.”– Danny Burke, Market Manager

Sing or hum when you have a tool in your hand. — Dan Peterman, co-founder of Experimental Station

Move furtively– Connie Spreen, Co-founder of Experimental Station

Start out with a hopscotch– Chris Allen, Bike Shop Manager

Rambox. (2012)

 Rambox is a piece exploring detoxification, self-healing and nature. It has been performed at the Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn, NY, Hyde Park Art Center and Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery. I drink seven Master Cleanses in the space of fifteen minutes while breathing along with a clip from Rambo III.

An Apology to NATO ISAF Commander General John Allen (2012)

The NATO summit in Chicago is happening right now. Back in February, NATO ISAF Commander General John Allen apologized for the ignorant actions of his coalition soldiers. So I apologize for my own ignorance. And emailed this video to the ISAF.

The Plant is Present in Moscow (2012) Documentation

 

The Plant had a smaller audience in Moscow, but provoked discussion nonetheless. Photos and other documentation from visitors below.

The Plant is Present in Moscow (2012)

I’m currently in Moscow for the First International Science Art Conference and Exhibition. Sanseveria Trifasciata re-created its performance of The Plant is Present here, with the help if Liliya Lifanova. and I gave a short presentation on the work and its relationship to that of Marina Abramovich. More photos, as well all pictures of everyone who sat with the plant, coming soon.

An Apology to Alan Greenspan (2012)

This was my contribution to Low Lives: Occupy! on March 3, 2012. Alan Greenspan admitted the flaws in his philosophy. So I apologize for demonizing him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Plant’s Superfan / Comment Book Part Two

  Just as Marina Abramovic had her superfan, so Sanseviera Trafasciata had one, as well. The gentleman visited 3 times over two days, often sitting at length and talking to the plant. We could venture a guess as to which notes in the comment book were his, but there was a distinct handwriting that praised the plant’s “conversational” quality. For other fascinating notes and stories, read on, as the task of transcribing the mammoth amount of written feedback continues. There’s even more– and a VIDEO of the superfan— after the jump.

“La Suegra, We meet again! Mom gave me a piece of you when Eugenie & I moved in together. Said I would need it. Boy did I! You out grew my herbs & even adapted around the weeds. Your sharp & a bitch of a fighter! That’s what mom meant when she said I’d need you. I’m glad you wear the black gown. With all the negativity in your life & yet you thrive. Like my suegra. Like me. I look forward to having you in my garden again. This time you’ll have a permanent place in the sun, but you just have to wait a few more years! Thanks for everything, la suegra. — Geanna M.H.”

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Everyone who sat with The Plant, Day Two / Comment Book Part One

The second day of “The Plant is Present” was a bit slower, and the plant spent some time alone. But more than 50 people still found time to sit and have a moment with The Plant. Again, here’s a link to a flickr album of everyone who sat on the second day. There were several people, 6 or 7 at my count, that chose to talk to the plant. At least two people over the course of two days had sat with both The Plant and Marina Abramovic, of “The Artist is Present” fame. One sitter described the prolific  documentation as part of the intensity of sitting with Marina. The other, I’m fairly certain, is responsible for this comment in the plant’s book: “Marina was exactly as interesting.” No one cried sitting in front of the plant, but plenty looked intrigued, bored, amused and joyful. So does a plant have the same presence as an artist?  Read on for sitter’s first-hand accounts of the experience. Continues after the jump, for a long time.

“I have never sat with a dressed plant before. It was very nice. I had a good time.”

“The lights were distracting, the plant beautiful”

“She is SEXY and REAL”

“The plant was present. The weather intensifies the energy received from the plant.”

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Everyone who sat with The Plant, Day One

We knew rain was a risk, and that it wouldn’t be a problem for our starring artist. But just in case, we brought an umbrella and a blanket for potential guests. We had all electrical connections taped, and the vulnerable areas wrapped in plastic bags. Still, there reached a point in the evening when we were forced to turn on the ambient outdoor light and break down our lighting setup. The public continued to sit with the plant. After it cleared up we put one lone light back up. As a result, the portraits of guests vary as the weather varies. Some are shot in performer lighting; some are shot in blaring fluorescent outdoor lighting; some are dramatically lit from one lone light; and at least one portrait was taken in complete darkness.

Look for a later post containing a full transcription of the lovely comment book. In the meantime, here’s a flickr stream of everyone who sat with the plant on the first evening: November 19th, 2011. Some selected portraits and a video below, after the jump.

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The Plant was Present (2011)

Sansevieria Trifasciata, an epic houseplant, performed its work “The Plant is Present” at the School of the Art Institute’s New Blood Performance Festival, November 19th and 20th, 2011. The plant sat silently while a total of 138 visitors took turns sitting in a chair opposite it, staying in its presence for as long as they liked. All guests were photographed, and asked to record their experience in a comment book. Responses ranged from “I felt a connection to the plant and was able to live in the moment” to “It was awkward” to “So good! I loved every second of it!” to “Marina was exactly as interesting.” Check back later for more documentation, a full transcription of the comment book and photos of all 138 visitors to the plant.

Sansevieria trifasciata: The Plant Is Present (2011)

Sansevieria trifasciata is an epic houseplant. Often referred to as “the plant that won’t die,” it is famous for thriving on neglect. Commonly called Mother in Law’s Tongue for its sharp leaves, or Snake Plant for its winding tendrils, S. trifasciata is one of the top 50 plants that clean the air, converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night, and has historically been used to create bowstring hemp. In short, its creative career is one of tenacity and self-sacrifice. I will be giving a lecture on the phenomenal artistic accomplishments of this plant at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Nov. 14th, 4:30pm, 2M space, MacLean Bldg) before the plant performs a solo work called “The Plant is Present” at this year’s New Blood Performance festival.

Water Fight with a Cactus. (2011)

There’s a Prickly Pear Cactus near my house in Oakland. It thinks it’s better than me. Just because it makes delicious fruit and holds hella water. Well, to heck with you, Cactus. I can hold water. In biodegradable bags as I FLING THEM AT YOUR FACE! This is High Noon, Cactus. Water Retention vs. Water Retention. Prickly Pear vs. Prickly Personality. It’s totally irrelevant that you’re designed for the heat, and that this mere hour of throwing things at you will burn me a piggy shade of pink.You’re not the only thing that can survive a drought. Now hang on while I down eight glasses of AWESOME.

Epic battle captured in photos by Sarabek Images.

Considering Sustainable Design @ PQ 2011

Every four years theater artists of all kinds gather in the Czech Republic for the Prague Quadrennial. Countries set up pavilions to display the best of their professional and graduate-level stage design. The city is swarmed with performances, lectures, panels and demonstrations. When I first went in 2003, site-specific performance was highlighted as a fascinating trend in scenography. Since then, the Quadrennial has expanded from a stage-design conference to a dialogue on all things performance and space. Site-specific projects are more the rule, less the exception. I’m here until June 27th, nerding out with the folks from the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. We’ll be participating in a Roundtable Discussion– Considering Sustainable Design— on June 21st. Check sustainablepractice.org for further updates. Until then, I’m loving me some cobblestones.

p.s. : the Latvian pavilions are kicking butt, as usual.

David vs. Gack (2011)

I lived in a warehouse complex in Oakland, CA. My neighborhood was a series of smog shops, pallet yards and old factories. We got a notice in the mail that a site near us was undergoing remediation for hydrocarbon and lead pollution, among other things. I wanted to help. Participants of a workshop at the last Earth Matters on Stage Symposium had mixed bags of oyster mushroom mycelium, sawdust and dirt in their own remediative performances. I took the remnants and shot them over the fence with a slingshot. In my old neighborhood, hydrocarbon pollution is a Goliath.

Photos: sarabek images

Yielding Air (2010)

The other day I ran a yellow light, and it was mildly harrowing. So I decided to do it again, full-force jogging style, with an English Ivy. We would languidly dodge traffic while making carbon dioxide and oxygen together. I think the Ivy might have been working harder, as it was removing toxins and airborne feces as well. I ran around the intersection at 12th and Broadway in downtown Oakland for about a half-hour, preceded by a 15-minute stretch on the corner. Everyone always thinks I’m selling plants, even when it’s obvious I’m suited up to go jogging with them. In this video, a plaza security guard is chatting with Sarah Cross, who is filming.

video and photos: Sarah Cross Photography

Free Air at the Federal Reserve Bank

I built a briefcase that spews ivy and oxygen. Then I stood in front of the Federal Reserve Bank for an hour with it. One Italian tourist asked me if I was selling anything. Then he asked for references to yoga and mediation studios. The bank security guard asked me if everything was okay. I said “Yeah.” Lots of folks glanced in passing. One man got into a discussion with me on BART about global warming. I drank some $2 sustainable coffee while dispensing Free Air.

photos: Sarah Cross Photography

Free Air at Eagle Gas Station

The other day I brought by houseplants to the gas station near my house in East Oakland, CA. We sat giving out Free Air for 45 minutes. Some folks thought the plants were for sale. Some folks wondered what it was, and relaxed upon hearing it was an art installation. The plants were mostly Pothos and English Ivy, which are known to remove toxins from the air (while turning CO2 into oxygen). We had some nice chats and inquisitive looks, then packed up and went home. This has only a little to do with the fact that the station does not have an air pump.

photos: Sarah Cross Photography

Pathos/Pothos

Today I sat on the street with a cardboard sign and a plant. The sign said: “PLEASE HELP my plant remove toxins and pollutants from the air. DONATIONS of CO2 much appreciated. He’s a Pothos. I call him Fred. Exhalations = Awesome. No cash accepted.”

Over the course of 3 hours, 22 people stopped to read the sign or talk to me. As thanks, I handed them a flier with a friendly list of other plants that clean the air. Three people offered me money, one guy tried to give me a granola bar, all of which I politely declined. This was all part of the Conflux Festival in NYC. While I was sitting on my rear, there were workshops, panels, performances and hikes happening all over the East Village

The Grand Total of Reaction to Pathos/Pothos is below: Everything from joy to pornographic remarks.

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Conflux Festival

I’ll be on the streets of NYC this weekend for the Conflux Festival of psychogeography. I will have a plant with me. His name is Fred. He cleans the air for donations of carbon dioxide. The piece is called Pathos/Pothos.