ARTLURKER

A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

HOMO SAPIENS vote for Mr. and Mrs. Candidate

Mr. and Mrs. Candidate, 2008.

Before moving to the United States, Thomas Hollingworth paid particular attention to the last election. Mainly because he was interested to see if his own country was going to be led further down the garden path during another four years of ill advised action at the hands of an epsilon-minus evangelist, but also to get a handle on what his soon-to-be-fellow countrymen valued most in their leader.

In the run up to what was finally the worst possible result (in his opinion), he was shocked by what the public had to say after hearing the presidential candidates give a speech. When reporters interviewed Mr. and Mrs. Average American (in what appeared to me to be a particularly vague manner) about what they thought of their respective candidates (in this case either Kerry or Bush), to my disgust, instead of referencing key objectives or foreign policies people were offering responses as irresponsibly vacuous as “I love his eyes” or “He’s a great public speaker” and “I think he’s a real American.”

Clearly the horror of this was not enough to dissuade Thomas from emigrating here, but it did leave a lasting impression upon him that the majority of Americans sadly portioned the lions share of their trust based upon how politicians appeared as opposed to their agendas for the future of the country and its people. In short; not what people say, but how they say it.

Mr. and Mrs. Candidate performance.

Having lived in the US now for some time (admittedly without a television), Thomas gets the sense that even though the present circus that is US politics is thank fully unique, it is not just the American people that think this way. Clinical psychologists say that only a diminutive percentage of our communication is verbal and that in fact most of the information we perceive, or at least the manner in which we perceive it, relies upon how a person smiles, uses the tones of their voice and in particular their body language.

It’s a fairly disquieting thought that we could be seduced into placidity by the timbre of a voice or hypnotized into voting one way or another by gesticulations, but apparently it happens and today leaders spend a great deal of time perfecting (or rather being taught to perfect) this secret weapon.

Mr. and Mrs. Candidate performance.

In response to this Miami performance group, Homo Sapiens Live Art – recently formed by David Rohn and Danilo de la Torre – has spent the last few weeks performing a continuous piece based on the way presidential (and other) candidates running for public office in the US express themselves. The piece titled “Mr. and Mrs. Candidate” has been performed at various locations around Miami including on the street outside of Artformz this past gallery walk (courtesy of Artformz and Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art) and most recently in front of the Miami Beach Cinematheque (512 Espanola Way, Miami Beach).

Mr. and Mrs. Candidate performance.

Taking the body language, gestures and expressions of political candidates as an interesting starting point, the pair examines the spectacle of election performance during this and past election seasons. Standing on a podium, often in front of a smaller but nonetheless similarly enthralled crowd to the real McCoy, the pair continuously change positions; holding a pose or expression for a few moments before changing it for a new, equally recognizable one. As we are generally obliged to discount what politicians say the cumulative effect of mimicking the silent actions of electoral contenders is surprisingly powerful – like watching the real thing on TV with the volume turned down.

Mr. and Mrs. Candidate performance. Photograph by Grela Orihuela of Wet Heat Project.

Billing their oeuvre as “Art for Evolution,” HOMO SAPIENS offer ‘live art’ that blends aspects of art-world-style performance, club/nightlife and theatrical performance, and potentially including (but not limited to) video, dance, vocals, music, photography, and installation. As their name suggests, the group has as a primary goal to bring to life the vast realm of shared human experience reminding us all that we are overwhelmingly more alike than different, and that our communality of spirit unites us all far more that superficial differences separate us.

Mr. and Mrs. Candidate performance. Photograph by Grela Orihuela of Wet Heat Project.

In the case of political inclinations, we each like to believe that we make up our own minds as to whose patter is the most effective and so motion in favorable response to that, but perhaps the results of this year’s election will instead illuminate how as a group we actually care more for smiles, age, or even the color of skin, because lets face it, at the end of the day they’re all pretty much saying the same thing anyway[.]

.

Those who did not get a chance to see these pertinent events can look forward to more ‘monkey business’ by HOMO SAPIENS in their forthcoming collaboration entitled “SILENCIO.” Also starring drag artist Juicy Pussy, performance artist Jasmine Kastell and Juan Carlos Zaldivar, “SILENCIO,” which features music by Miguel Prem and lighting by Frank Polanco, is about the Culture clash of the Islamic and Judeo-Christian world. The piece takes the form of a love affair between a Detainee and a Soldier at a hypothetical US Detention Center. Performance takes place on November 21st at The Wolfsonian.

Flyer for SILENCIO.

.

1 Comment

  • margallo

    Welcome to the United (light) States of America, but I still believe it is the world standard for personal freedom and advancement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HOMO SAPIENS vote for Mr. and Mrs. Candidate