Gray life Project

by Christina Animashaun

Since the rise of performance art in the 1960s, artists began to use their bodies as a medium to transmit cultural commentary, creative expression, and sequential narrative. In the documentation of those performances the artists often took the main focus, overlooking an essential entity that is crucial to existence of performance as a whole. This past year, I executed a piece utilizing my body in order to critically analyze audience spectatorship and participation in Baltimore City, Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia. After painting my skin gray and wearing only black and white clothing, I walked in these cities as a pedestrian with a sound recorder embedded on my person and with a photographer taking pictures of my interactions. Though these works sought to challenge the focus often kept on the performing artist, this project highlighted the inseparable dynamics of the artist and witness and the wide range of artistic interpretation held by spectators of performance. Photographs of the performances and video response to the overall performance experience can be viewed on a website dedicated to the project. 

This work was funded through an Undergraduate Research Award from the UMBC Office of Undergraduate Education. 

To view our interview with Christina about her work and the Gray Life Project, you can find it in our Taking Our Seat Series.