|18. The Dynamics
In my work for the last five years, I have been trying to discover how private performances affect the outer world. The most obvious and least controversial way in which they affect the outer world is that the doing of a piece that no one other than the doer will know about or experience psychologically changes the doing artist. By his relating to the outer world after the private event, the change is transferred to the outer world. In our culture which focuses on masses, on bigness, and linear cause-effect process, this small, intimate, changing effect is usually dismissed as not meaning very much, not doing very much. In my work, I have been applying what I understand of the principles of quantum physics. Physicists have found that there are events that cannot be explained by normal linear ways of looking at things. Linear seeing turns out to be a small frame on top of a much bigger reality. They have created a bigger frame that they call the Chaos Theory. In this what at first appears to be a small event with little or no effect sets off a pattern of effect. This pattern sometimes even fades or disappears for a time. Then it reappears, causing a wide reaching chain reaction, whereas an event that at first appears big and important usually, after a burst of energy, fades in effect. When seen in this light, the changing effect that is transferred by the artist from the private performance to the outer reality by his living in that outer reality becomes a very powerful source of change.
But this is not the only source of power for change. Artists are surrogates of society who go into the reality of dreams and myths and universal truths. Private, secret performances give the artists a bubble that is free of taboos and limits. Within this bubble the artist explores the world of visions and dreams. From this place, the artist broadcasts patterns of new possibilities through nonlinear channels, through her body, back to the outer world. (Modern physicists have described the sub-nuclear particles as patterns of possibilities.) Some of these patterns of new possibilities are stored in the artist's body and in the site, to be released within time; but at the time of the magical private act, a large amount of these patterns of new possibilities are released directly into the outer world through nonlinear means, causing nonlinear chain reactions of change.
Both the direct broadcasting and the radiating through time of these patterns of possibilities are experiential mediums. These mediums are much less vulnerable to being co-opted or mistranslated than are documentation or art products. Documentation and art products are linear mediums by which private performances have an effect in the outer world. This is because the broadcasting and the radiating of new possibility patterns are transmitted on physical, psychic, subconscious energy levels...rather than on intellectual, visual, political, conceptual levels.
More than ever I have been experimenting with the nonlinear effect, both in my private and public work. In my private work, it is the relationship between me and an active other within a special reality beyond the normal taboos and social constraints. Within this intimate reality, the active other cannot be seen as an audience.
I sometimes put ads in the straight casting papers for actors. The ultimate purpose for this is not to get actors for my work (although once in a blue moon I find an actor in this way). The ultimate purpose is to expose society to the magical alternative reality that this kind of work, the kind of person I am, and the kind of body I have, represent ... exposing it one on one, personally. By this magical confrontation, seeds and time bombs are planted within the active other. She becomes a carrier of the magical virus. The straight actor probably will never do weirdness called performance (although that is always a possibility), but somewhere down the line, the seed will grow, the bomb will explode. When Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera turn an average person into a sex star in their private studio, when Linda Montano teaches someone to be a saint at her retreat, when I train my Chero apprentices, we and our "students" become metaphors which open the possibility to society at large. By that average-looking woman becoming a sex star, society is closer to becoming a sex star. By riding with metaphor reality, artists reach the realm of myth, dream, and the universals.
In fact, the bulk of my work is these secret private performances. Hidden either within my cave studio or within everyday life. I do them with the magical other.
My "public" work is firmly rooted in my private work ... so much so that it is not useful to try to divide it up in that way. When I do a public piece, I am not doing it for the audience. It is public only because an audience would add to the energy, or at least will not get in the way. Elements of my public pieces arise from the private, secret, intense roots. The purpose of the private piece is not to create these elements for the public pieces, but to do these elementary acts within a sacred freedom. These acts then find their way into the public performances.
Photos (from top to bottom): Annie Sprinkle, Rod Dailey