I am Chris Purdie is a performance art piece involving thirty-five performers playing the role of visual artist Chris Purdie. The cast wears the "Chris Purdie uniform" and performs the role as they interact with patrons attending the artist's reception. For the duration of the exhibition, there will be at least one "Chris Purdie" in the gallery during their hours.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Auditions are scheduled for January 19-21, 2009. There will be 3 separate auditions at BYU, UVU, and a community location. As we get further information it will be posted.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

KIRBY Acting/Not-Acting Continuum

This is a continuum taken from an article I have been reading about acting and not-acting by Michael Kirby. In this article he describes the many different styles and situations where each area applies. I feel this is important for the project since each performer will be placed in all of the categories depending on the viewer.

Kirby says "Acting means to feign, to simulate, to represent, to impersonate." He goes on to show the many different types of performance that do not involve acting or involve a smaller level of acting.
When Kirby says "non-matrixed" he is referring to "those performers who do not do anything to reinforce the information or identification. When the performer... is merely him-self and is not imbedded, as it were, in matrices of pretended or represented character, situation, place and time, I refer to him as being 'non-matrixed'."
He goes on to define the "received actor" as "only an honorary title, so to speak. Although the performer seems to be acting, he actually is not. The amount of simulation, representation, impersonation and so forth has increased as we have moved along the scale, but, so far, none of this was created by the performer in a special way we could designate as 'acting'." An example he gives of a "received actor" is an extra.
Moving closer to "acting" Kirby explains that "Acting can be said to exist in the smallest and simplest action that involves pretense." "The simplest acting is that in which only one element or dimension of acting is used." Acting exists in both physical and emotional terms.
"If the performer does something to simulate, represent, impersonate and so forth, he is acting."
"At times in 'real life' we meet a person that we feel is acting. This does not mean that he is lying, dishonest, living in an unreal world, or that he is necessarily giving a false impression of his character and personality. It means that he seems to be aware of an audience-to be 'on stage'-and that he reacts to this situation by energetically projecting ideas, emotions and elements of his personality for the sake of the audience." The example Kirby provides is that of a public speaker.
Kirby speaking of "complex acting" says, "In part, complexity is related to skill and technical ability." He continues, "Anyone can act; not everyone can act in a complex way."

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I created a group on Facebook for the project. Please join Chris Purdie's PORTRAIT PROJECT group.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


2008.6.24 - Met with Dave Mortenson of BYU’s Experimental Theatre Company to discuss their participation in the project. They will help with scripting and during Winter semester with workshops as an audition process. Scheduled next meeting for 2008.7.1.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The following is the request for participation and questionnaire I sent out to acquaintances.

Hello Family and Friends,

Many of you may remember the participation request email and form I sent out January 2008. I received some great feedback and look forward to more.

Please remember this is an ongoing project that will last up until the exhibition in March of 2009 at the SEGO Art Center of Provo.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: A large-scale performance art project. I am working to create a conceptual self-portrait involving 35 actors/actresses who will learn how to be “me” and perform the part in an art gallery. They will wear the “Chris Purdie” costume, be strategically placed in the gallery, and act out specific roles as they interact with the viewers. In order for them to learn how to be me, I must better understand who I am (external and internal view). I need your help with the external part of the script for this production. I will use yours and others memories and experiences as well as my own to construct the external/internal image of “Chris Purdie”.

PARTICIPATION REQUEST: I would greatly appreciate it if you would write down as much as you can about me on the attached form. Your participation will be integral to the success of this project.
Please send me things as they come to you. This is a long-term project (about one year), so I hope there will be enough time for everyone to send more than one description form.

ATTACHMENT: Please answer the questions on the form and get it back to me (see questionnaire form below). Remember to write your name and the date in the “footer” section of the form.

DEADLINE: At this point in the planning stages the sooner I receive the forms the better. The latest I can accept the forms for use in the script writing process will be January 2009, but again sooner will be better.

Thank you for your participation and support.
Chris Purdie

Introduction | Exposé | Memorial

1. How do you know Chris Purdie?

2. How long have you known Chris Purdie?

3. Describe Chris Purdie with one word:

4. Describe Chris Purdie with one sentence:

5. Please share stories, experiences, personality, quirks, flaws, weaknesses, strengths, mannerisms, phrases, or anything and everything you can think of:


I am very happy to announce that I received the Laycock grant from the College of Fine Arts and Communication at BYU to help fund this project.
I am currently in the script writing and planning stages and I hope to have a clear vision of the project (script and schedule) by the end of summer so I may move forward with execution.
Most of the background work will take place during Fall semester (Sept.-Dec. 2008), which will include: preparations for auditions/casting, design work for advertising methods/catalog, writing of press releases/invitations, purchasing and manufacturing of props, etc. More of the execution will be in Winter semester (Jan.-March 2009), which will include: auditions/casting/rehearsals, advertising/invitations/press releases, purchasing costumes/refreshments, exhibition/performance/artist reception, etc.

PARTICIPATION: I really appreciate all who have signed up to help with this project and look forward to working with you. If you know of anyone who would like to help please forward this information to them and have them contact me (see participation opportunities below). If you do not feel you will be able to help please let me know.
The Laycock grant is an interdisciplinary grant, which requires me to work with students and faculty from multiple departments of BYU. Although working within the college is a requirement, I am not limited and may also work with people outside of the college.

Participation Opportunities:
Actors/Actresses – Casting, Performance
Video Documentation – (Spencer Cahoon is primarily responsible for this and may need assistance)
Photographic Documentation – Photography (secondary help needed)
Marketing/Advertising – Public Relations, Invitations, Press Releases
Designer – Catalog, Flyer, Post Cards
Accounting – Budget, Purchasing
Artist’s Assistant – Curator, Other
Writer – Script, Biography, Essay, Press Release, Invitations

Compensation for Participants:
College Credit (Advisor carried/Independent study worked out through department)
Receive applicable work experience (Resume/Portfolio/CV)
Letter of recommendation
Personal growth through unique performance opportunity
A copy of the documentary

Thank you for your participation and support.

Chris Purdie