hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of New York University using Archive-It. This page was captured on 17:29:43 May 30, 2017, and is part of the Fales Library: Linda Montano collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

IS LIFE A WORK OF ART:SFAI

IS LIFE A WORK OF ART? AN INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE by LINDA MARY MONTANO

  Outside of the San Francisco Art Institute, around 1971, over 40 years ago, I placed a treadmill on the sidewalk and performed an endurance by walking continuously for three hours while repeating over and over an abridged story of my life.
 I was wearing a tattered blue prom dress and a permanent smile device in my mouth and I'm sure I was accompanied by an audiotape of chicken sounds.

PAUSE NUMBER ONE:
 Can you imagine joining me in making laughter sounds of appreciation for the seven glands of the body, specificially for the ovaries or testes? HA HA HA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE, HA HA HA END OF PAUSE

In retrospect, I can only imagine what my intentions may have been during my early performances. The four possibilites are:
NUMBER ONE: Maybe I beleived that repetitive telling of my traumas as art could detach me from mentally ruminating on them?
NUMBER TWO: Maybe I believed that by defusing my own history via repetition for three hours, that I could neurologically switch my own brain waves from the worry side over to the happy, no-worry brian?
NUMBER THREE: Maybe I beleived that via endurance and repetition, my story would become everyone's story and that as a group we could performatively creste an atmosphere of pleasant aesthetic suspension?
NUMBER FOUR: Maybe I was re-enacting the catholic Church's priesthood, reserved only for men?

PAUSE NUMBER TWO:
 Can you imagine joining me in making laughter sounds of appreciation for the seven glands of the body, specifically for the pancreas?HA HA HA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE HA HA HA
END OF PAUSE

Back to my story. Performance has always been my language of choice, my vehicle, my therapy, my medium, my livelihood, my mystery solver, my passionate habit, my redemptive link to the sacred. As a result, instead of constantly floundering in the wreckage of my everyday life, I make art. Not lots of art or slick art or marketable art or well-known art because my attraction has stylistically been to the art povera, to the hidden, to the distressed, to the simple, to the childlike, to the recycled.

  PAUSE NUMBER THREE: Can you imagine joining me in making laughter sounds of appreciation for the seven glands of the body, specifically for the adrenals? HA HA HA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE HA HA HA
END OF PAUSE

I ask myself why do I like art povera?
  NUMBER ONE: Maybe it is because I harbor an addiction to victimhood?

  PAUSE NUMBER FOUR: Can you imagine joining me in making laughter sounds of appreciation for the seven glands of the body, specifically for the thymus gland? HA HA HA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE HA HA HA END OF PAUSE

NUMBER TWO: Maybe I yearn to be seen as a tortured shamaness cured by austerities and penances and now wanting to heal others?

PAUSE NUMBER FIVE: Can you imagine joining me in making laughter sounds of appreciation for the seven glands of the body, specifically for the thyroid gland? HA HA HA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE HA HA HA
END OF PAUSE

NUMBER THREE: Maybe I was so totally imprinted on the image of a life sized, scourged Christ hanging on the Crucifix , that I got stuck in an ecstatic and sublime need to suffer?

PAUSE NUMBER SIX: Can you imagine joining me in making laughter sounds of appreciation for the seven glands of the body, specifically the pineal gland? HA HA HA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE HEE HA HA HA
END OF PAUSE

All of these academic guesses are really masking the simple truth that I choose to be foolish for art. Yes, I am a fool for art.

PAUSE NUMBER SEVEN: Can you imagine joining me in making laughter sounds of appreciation for the seven glands of the body, specifically for the pituitary gland? HA HA HA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE HA HA HA
END OF PAUSE 

  To illustrate the strategies I use on my practice, I will share three films. The first, titled DYSTONIA, is about an illness I have which neurologically causes pain, tremors and spasms. The botox injections I receive every three months somewhat alleviate the symptoms. In this film I do three things:
NUMBER ONE: I show an uncomfortalbe medical procedure...needles being put in my neck. NUMBER TWO: But in the soundtrack I contradict the shock, awe and pity party by having a child read a fairy tale. Oxymoron art.
NUMBER THREE: The result is that humor drains the harsh reality of it's sting. Innocence trumps masochism.

Film number two is title MOTHER TERESA. One day while spasming from Dystonia, I was bent over, cramped, twisted, stiff and I said to myslef, quote," Linda, you look just like MOTHER TERESA." end quote. At that second another persona emerged. Not a bad trade off because from the loins of illness and medical misery sprung art. I call this film healing.

Film number three is titled THANK YOU DR ARUNA MEHTA. For 19 years I studied with this extraordinary woman who died in 2009. Mataji was a compassionate mother and friend to all. I call this film a tribute to her. It is also a public heart song and opportunity to honor my friend in the company of your support. Mourning art. Please feel free to remember internally or write the names of your deceased family and friends you would like to honor. To conclude, I would like to sing for you a prayer by Joseph Goldstein:

MAY ALL BEINGS BE FILLED WITH LOVING KINDNESS
MAY ALL BEINGS BE WELL
MAY ALL BEINGS BE PEACEFULL AND AT EASE
MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY

Thank you and goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

No comments:

Post a Comment