Heather Kyle, in what could itself be a piece of performance art if it wasn't a metaphor, has taken the yoke of performance art in Columbus on her back. Perhaps not single-handedly, as the lineup for Saturday's Performance Art Day at Wild Goose Creative is growing.
Heather Kyle, in what could itself be a piece of performance art if it wasn't a metaphor, has taken the yoke of performance art in Columbus on her back.
Perhaps not single-handedly, as the lineup for Saturday's Performance Art Day at Wild Goose Creative is growing, but the idea for the biannual event was Kyle's idea, and she is its driving force.
"I wanted to provide a safe space and a regularly occurring event for people to have an experience with performance art," she said. "There's no real home for it."
And the experience is not just for the audience, but for performers - and potential performers.
"I'm always encouraging, recruiting, telling people, 'I bet you can do this,'" Kyle said.
"When [Heather] asked me, I had no idea what I was going to do," said Maika Carter, who will do her performance art piece throughout Saturday's event. "I'm not a stranger to performance. I've been doing spoken word since my early 20s. I was in a band.
"I did a piece at Wild Goose in the fall, and that was my first real venture into performance art on the fine art level. But I probably wouldn't do this without the opportunity of Performance Art Day, and I'm really grateful for it."
Kyle's interest in performance art began while she was a student at CCAD.
"In college I was, for the most part, a painter. But the stuff I liked and the stuff I was drawn to was this out-there performance art stuff. I found it inspiring," she said.
Thus inspired, Kyle developed her own piece, in which she embedded items given to her over the years in blocks of concrete and then assaulted the blocks with a sledgehammer.
"When I think about college, I think about that two hours," she said. "I think I fucked up my shoulder, but whoever saw it got to see me at my purest. You're putting yourself out there, this intense effort, and it definitely gets a reaction."
At the same time, Kyle said, that kind of high-concept, "out-there" performance art sells short the meaning of performance art itself.
"The words around the topic suck," Kyle said. "Performance art is art that is performed."
And so, alongside performed art pieces, Performance Art Day audiences will experience dance, storytelling, poetry, music… "Everything," Kyle said.
"It's a good thing to push envelopes in art and the engagement of art," said spoken word artist Scott Woods, among those scheduled to perform Saturday. "Seeing what other people are doing and sharing what we're doing."
"Performance art means many different things," said Michael Rene Torres, a member of CODE (Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble), which will participate in Saturday's event. "There are many different mediums. Our group, we are all classically-trained musicians, performing exclusively contemporary music. Even that might seem very well-defined, but we're always looking for opportunities for new experiments."
"One of our pieces uses just squiggles on a graph paper for notation," Torres said. "On stage, we will each improvise based on what those mean to us as individuals."
"The goal, at least for me, is engagement," Woods said. "Performance is the tool, but engagement is the definite goal."
Kyle hopes the format of Performance Art Day helps audiences engage. The schedule is loose, with only a start and end time formally set. Within that, participants are invited to perform as they see fit.
"The artists are making their own schedules," she said. "You could get three or four things going at the same time. That, to me, is the magical part."
"I tend to just read the room," Woods said. "I come loaded for bear and just start shooting."
"I plan on being there the entire nine hours," Carter said. "I will be performing while other performances are going on. I'll be knitting myself a cocoon that I can fit inside.
"Hopefully I'll be done in the nine hours."
Other performers include comedian/magician Erik Tate, mind reader Branden Wolf, performance art collective Fourfor and storyteller Carlyn Lynch.
Additionally, the #WildArtColumbus exhibition will already be hung, giving Performance Art Day audiences a preview of the Wild Art Columbus Live Auction and Party, set for 6 p.m. Sunday at Wild Goose.