Detour: Color Commentator Eleanor LeBeau on Artist Arzu Ozkal #8   05.17.10



6:55 p.m.

(Arzu and I rehearsed with Meeko Israel, the bongo player, on Thursday night for about 90 minutes, but I didn't have time to tell you about that.) Arzu and I head to SPACES' warm, stuffy artist-in-residence quarters. Arzu begins transforming herself into The Actress while I circumnavigate a room, megaphone in hand, reciting my lines, exhausted but pulsating with nervous energy. Arzu emerges from the bathroom in full make-up, wearing lacy pink tights and the A-line white dress she used for her exhibition postcard. With one hand on her stomach, she confides that she's now getting 'really nervous', although I tell her she appears calm and happy. She dives into a huge bag, pulls out the white grommet-belt and puts it on. "I look like Robin Hood", she says, softly laughing. "A very retro, Diana Rigg-Avengers kinda Robin Hood," I say.

7:17 p.m.

Arzu she throws me a coiled rope. I unfurl it and attach myself to her belt with a carabiner. Are we ready to climb mountains? As we test the rope's resistance. igdem Slankard, the videographer, arrives. Arzu calls her Chi (spelling?). She retrieves another spool of rope and hands it to Chi, who, concerned about megaphone's volume, is doing a sound check. Chi and Arzu decide where to attach Chi's rope to the grommet-belt. I'm not exactly sure what happened next.

7:30 p.m.

Arzu leads Chi and I down the stairs and outside, onto the sidewalk in front of SPACES. The megaphone goes up in the air. Chi disappears. People are staring at us. We walk into the gallery, pushing our way through clusters of chatting people. I watch Arzu. I try to make eye contact with the audience. Baffled and slightly irritated faces stare back me. Arzu hands out the ropes. Some spectators refuse but thirteen accept the invitation to become participants. They have become binary terrorists. Chris Lynn is standing next to me. Then he's gone. Meeko's bongo-playing fades in and out. I hear the buzz of conversations. I'm getting tangled in the rope and worry about tripping. I'm worried about speaking too loud and not loud enough.

Next thing I know, Arzu is struggling to pull fifteen people, most of whom have no idea where she intends to go, into her exhibition space. She is slipping, slipping, slipping, slipping, falling on the wooden floor. She tries to get up once, twice, then falls on her knee. I try to help her up, then immediately I wonder if she wants me to do that. Later she will email to say that she has a bruise on her knee, and I will write back that I'm sorry and I hope it doesn't hurt too much.

Now she's in the corner of a gallery, facing the audience, her hands splayed on the walls. I stick the megaphone in her face and shout The Propositions. This""shouting in Arzu's (I mean the Actress's) face at close range while she's in a submissive position"" is difficult. I'm nauseous. Arzu breaks free and rushes to the opposite side of the gallery. Now she stands facing the wall, her back to the audience, in yet another submissive position. I say my final words and put down the megaphone. Arzu begins unhooking the participants' ropes. I want her to hurry and release mine. When she does, I leave the space and walk out of the gallery, as we'd rehearsed.

Outside SPACES I take a deep breath. No one is around. I can still hear Meeko's bongo playing. It goes on longer than we'd rehearsed. It keeps going. I knew it. I knew the ending we'd rehearsed was not the real ending. Liberated from the writer-critic's gaze""from having to explain how the line produced the dot (in Bourriard's formulation)""Arzu was free to create. But what was she doing? I fought the impulse to find out. Returning to the gallery was not the right thing to do.

By and by a woman steps out of the gallery. I can't help myself. I ask her what Arzu is doing. "She's just sitting on floor, staring into space. No one knows if the performance is over." I ask the woman if Arzu is facing the audience. "Yes," she says.

I smile and thank the woman for her information. I'm glad I asked. And glad that I didn't return to watch Arzu.

11:04 p.m.

Arzu emails:

Gosh! I have a big bruise on my knee I hope we get together soon. We should keep in touch; it was awesome collaborating with you.

I tell Arzu that it was awesome collaborating with her, too.
Love at First Sitenn
Anonymous, Arzu Ozkal and Eleanor LeBeaunn
The Scene is outside. Time is unspecified. The Commentator announces the Dramatis Personae.

The Commentator:
The Playwright
The Drummer
The Actress
The Audience
The Gallery
The Color Commentator
The Choreographer
The Rope

The Actress enters the gallery. She holds Ropes embedded with carabiners.

The Commentator:
This is the Actress.
She is a dot.
She holds the Line.
She stands on the Plane.
We are bound, by space, by constraints.
She gives me no further instructions.

The Actress binds the Audience to her. The Commentator watches in silence. When she is ready, the Actress signals Commentator to start speaking again.

The Commentator:
How does she work?
Does she make notes?
Does it happen all in her head?
We agree to email every morning and every night.

The Actress draws the line on a field
Connects the dots that pull at one another
In the scene she draws an audience, the space frames the Play
Dot extends to line, line becomes arc, arcs become figures.
More line, please! More line! I need more line! More line!

The Actress approaches her exhibition space.

The Commentator:
There are lots of oppositions to play with.

The Actress enters the exhibition space.

The Commentator:
She is in love.
We agree to email every morning and every night.

I am a commentator.
So everything I tell you and everything I do not is a decision
based on an infinite set of constraints and variables.
She is a binary terrorist
My terror is almost unmanageable.
Objectivity is a myth.
We agree to email every morning and every night.

The Actress dances around the exhibition space, pulling the Audience. She backs into a corner, facing the Audience, and the Commentator shouts at her.

The Commentator:

The Actresss walks to a wall. When her back is to the audience, the Commentator speaks.

The Commentator:
"Every failure is a masterpiece," she quotes. "I wonder if this might be the only masterpiece I ever make."

The Actress disengages the Commentator's Rope. The Commentator exits the exhibition space and the gallery.

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: General


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