This project has been made possible by a grant from the Creative Arts Council of Brown University.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections from an audience member

These are some reflections from Mimi, an audience member who was generous enough to share her thoughts on the piece with me:
Going past the Arcade is a different experience for me now since seeing your piece; I have a connection to it. It has made me think about the theme of common property.  Experiencing your piece made me feel some sort of ownership of the environment I live in which I didn't have before. Perhaps a lot of people feel disconnected to buildings and urban spaces because they do not 'own' them, but your piece brings to mind how abstract the concept of property is. That is why I couldn't help think about your piece in the context of Occupy Providence. Here is a movement that is making people feel empowered enough to have more 'ownership' then they do. Occupying a public space allows people to become more engaged with those around them.
Back to your piece: although the Arcade is not 'public,' I felt that your piece made it so. I also liked how I, as an audience member, could interact within the piece. By interacting, I mean that when I had to follow the dancers around to each side, I felt that I had become part of the dance essentially. It felt initially strange, like I wasn't supposed to, but then I understood the importance of doing so.
I saw some skateboarders doing some tricks on the steps of the Arcade the other day. They had made a unique connection to the space in the same way your piece did. It's a connection that perhaps more the people who go in and out of Downtown PVD would never experience. What a gift I think!
The connection with the Occupy movement is an interesting one that had not crossed my mind at all- a pertinent example of the way in which audiences can find significances and associations that were not intended by the creator. It also speaks to the way in which context is crucial. Seeing this piece while the Occupy movement is constantly in the media allows for different connections than if the piece had occurred this time last year before the movement, or even if it had occurred in a location more geographically removed from the site of Occupy Providence (Burnside park is just on the other side of Wesminster Street, across Kennedy Plaza); like any work it does not exist in a vacuum but constantly informs, and is informed by, both its temporal and spatial context.

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