looking through old assignments

I'm curious about this research question that I wrote in Clare Croft's Fantasies and Anxieties of Race and Ethnicity in 20th Century American Performance:

I’m very interested Fensham’s idea of the “absent presence” and its relationship to conceptual art. I’m not sure how it is that I can believe so wholeheartedly in something like this—a contradiction. I sometimes find myself connecting more with contradiction than alleged fact. I try to place an unspoken moral in every piece I make. There is no guarantee that an audience will take away the intended message, especially if the message I’m trying to convey is highlighted through a strategic omission. This question calls back to my midterm project when my group struggled to agree on a collective spoken message, so we decided to leave words out completely, letting our bodies speak for themselves. I wonder which is more effective—communicating a provocative message through the body and letting pluralism take control or letting words provoke in a more direct way, telling individual audience members the exact words they should be considering, regardless of their previous associations with those words. I guess it depends on the content, but this is definitely something that takes trial and error, something well worth exploring. Can an argument be strengthened by its own omission and indirect implication? Like in Clydebourne Park, so much of the script is dependent on incomplete thought paired with previous cultural knowledge. I wonder about the best way to achieve this “absent presence” without simply making a piece that only makes sense to the makers of that piece.

 

How can we incorporate the "absent presence" into A House? What are we commenting on that won't actually be there? What is the strength of leaving something out if there is no guarantee that an audience will pick up on its absence? 

How can we incorporate the kind of "present absence" that Not An Alternative works with... commenting on a lack or a problem within an institution by adding to their existing work. How does The Natural History Museum model fit into feminist performance? What institution do we infiltrate into? Do we join a frat? Do we create some new adoption system? Do we engage sarcastically in locker room talk? How is inserting ourselves into someone else's home some version of this practice?