Go Deeper

REACTION: Spencer goes to store

Posted September 4th, 2008

GRAND OPENING! For one week only, enjoy the best and affordable performance products at store.

<%image(20080901-store suits web.jpg|350|263|Photo: Robin Barnes)%>

Wedged in the heart of the hustle and bustle of South Street, store offers you top of the line performance art products at prices high brow museums can’t beat! Smartly donned in wool suits, Michikazu Matsune and David Subal greet you at the door with a well-stocked menu of acts that meet all artistic tastes. One can choose from the “Specials of the Day,” “Special Delivery,” “Take Away” (most popular), “Pure Theater,” and “Cheap Copies” to name a few, and then the duo will perform the piece before the customers’ eyes. Prices range from $0.40 to $10.00, but admission is free for those who can enjoy watching the selections the others make.
Matsune and Subal aim to bring the realm of performance art into the everyday world of commerce. In an increasingly globalized economy, how does performance art interact in these transactions when often it is not material that can be easily consumed? And because it can not be easily consumed, what is the role of the spectator or viewer? Can or should performance art participate in a market economy?

store attempts to answer these questions by setting up shop in a neighborhood that sells everything from studded chokers to brand name hoodies. It’s amusing yet almost sinister how Matsune and Subal can transform their roles as performance artists into sales representatives. Consequently, art enthusiasts and patrons are now retail customers within direct contact of the artist. How does this translate for the First Friday crowd?

Each performance product that is purchased is realized with a tinge of humor and irony. The duo uses everyday materials such as trash bags, plastic, paper, and masking tape. For instance, if you want your own personal big bang theory (available in Take Away only), Matsune and Subal will stage the event by recreating the birth of the universe with industrial tape, wrapping it around each corner of the room and expanding it out to the streets, surprising (or alluring) other South Street visitors. After the initial framework has been established, they gather loose ends and create balls of planets, muttering sound effects a five year-old boy might use while playing Star Wars.

The drama increases as Matsune and Subal begin tearing down their structure in a frenzy and consolidating “the universe” in one big ball that can fit in a carry out box. They hand the box to the customer who ordered it to go, giving him specific instructions on how to take care of it, estimating it would take about 200 light years to grow. Meanwhile, everyone else is chuckling to themselves and picking out other selections of the menu. I think it’s safe to say that store excels at customer satisfaction as it brings performance art to a wider audience.

–Spencer E. Silverthorne