‘Reader’s digest’

In our small group we now have an outline for our performance. We will make ourselves dresses out of library books for our ‘pre performance’. For the ‘performance’ we want to wear our dresses standing on a raised platform. The ‘post performance’ will involve us removing the dresses in some way- we have a handful of options on how we can do this. One idea that we are considering either for the performance is to eat a library book whilst stood on our platforms.


This image gives an impression of what we want our performance to be.1

This idea was proposed to us after we had a discussion about the experiment I conducted whereby I explored the library books utilizing smell and touch rather than sight. By consuming a book we would be not just exploring with a different sense but we would also be violating the public’s pre concieved purpose of a book and physically rejecting the ideas of the book that we consume. Thinking about eating a book does scare me a bit. My main concern is my ability to actually do the act (eating a whole book would be physically challenging). However, this fear spurs me on to do it more. The majority of performance art we have seen, especially the ones that have most inspired me, are the performances that are challenging in some way for the performer and also the audience.

I have looked into the work of Gina Pane with specific reference to her performance of Le Lait Chaud (warm milk). In this piece she had cut many parts of her body including her tongue and then proceeded to continuously drink milk and spit it out until she spat out a mixture of milk and blood. Although this is an extreme and painful experience for both audience and performer it’s message that there is no such thing as white becomes very powerful. Marina Abramovic describes the videos of this and other performances of it’s nature as providing ‘more energy than many live performances’2. We want our performance to captivate and shock our audience like Pane and convey energy despite our slow, limited movements.

Gina Pane performing ‘Le Lait Chaud’3

For our own performance to be successful it is paramount that we choose the right book(s) to do our performance with. So far we have had the following ideas:

-Books about the digestive system

-Dieting books

-Books on consumerism

-Books on recycling

The next stage is to consider whether we are going to be physically able to do this and which book we will use.

  1. Cox, Emily. 2013 []
  2. Abramovic, ed. Huxley (2002). The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader. Routledge: New York. []
  3. http://salvatore-maresca-serra.com/2009/08/28/gina-pane-oltre-il-tabu-della-sofferenza-e-del-sangue/ []
Posted: March 2nd, 2013
Categories: Les dames des livres, Library, Marina Abramovic, Performance Art
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