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.

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."

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