Week 7

17 October 2009

Week 7

Greetings, friends!

I would like to start off by saying how much I appreciate everyone who helped with my BATTLESAPIEN performance. It was a great success. It would have been impossible to finish all of the preparations without the folks who volunteered to come early and help set up the space. It would have been literally impossible to have the performance without all of the dedicated performers who stripped down, got swaddled in felt, spray painted, and laid on the cold concrete floor while being splashed with paint. I hope that everyone got it out of their hair. I feel such a relief now that it is over. My life was totally consumed last week by 8 pages of details concerning the piece. I will post some pictures as soon as I get them from Marina. For other people that took pics, feel free to share them as none of us could see every thing at the same time.battleship

battleship dishesCheck out this vintage gamebox pic I found. I had just commented to Angie last week about the men playing games while the women did dishes, then I found this other version on some blog.

This week is really hard to write about as I was only focused on one piece the entire week. There really was nothing else. I was either shopping for the piece, working on parts at the studio, or working on it at home in my basement. I don’t think that I ate enough. Some days, Angie would bring meals to my studio. I drank a lot of Mountain Dew- a couple of Red Bulls when the going got really tough. Tonight, I will take a good long hot shower and throw on my special pajamas and watch footage with my partner. I think that I will have a good meal as well and eat on the couch. (I usually do not like to do that but I need some recoup time).

It was interesting speaking with people at the post-reception last night and hearing what they had to say. As the night went on, people became more comfortable talking and provided some good feedback. One thought that really stuck with me was expressed by a couple of people concerning the tone. It was obvious that the performance was a bit different than walking through a quiet gallery looking at masterpieces. On the first hit, people laughed. My gut instinct was this sucks, I am not putting on a circus here. But soon, I noticed that people were wanting to laugh. They would focus on a certain hit waiting for that moment or “release”. When I looked at faces in the audience, I realized that between those moments, there was a serious undertone. I believe that when I look at the documentation that the mediation is going to give off a more somber tone. I believe that people got what I was trying to say even if it was awkward. So, back to my subject- performers told me later that it was a sobering experience to lay on the cold floor considering the fact that they signed up to be a target. There was an internal tension that the game pieces felt as they listened to the shots called and figuring out if they were going to “get it”. I watched some of the performers wince as the gallery assistants neared them to deal out death. The assistants, Trina and Megan, were surprising as well. I was not sure how messy they would get but it seemed to work out. All characters served their purpose. The generals set back and called the shots as a “game” while the masses suffered on the floor. As facilitator, or “big brother” as some referred to me, stood by with no blood on my hands, while the assistants, or death, doled out all of the bloody work. I am going to review some images that show the following: Katie with blood running down her ear, Brian playing on his board with the performers in the background and a couple of the gallery assistants holding their kill pegs with their hands drenched in blood while performers were in the back ground. I am sure that I will have a lot more to review. Some people have already contacted me about pics they took.

So, critique. Please feel free to give me some feedback. I welcome it good or bad. Was it too cheesy? To literal? Complicated? Do you think it was a wasted of good felt? Whatever you have to add, I will appreciate. A few formal items that I currently am considering: I believe that the use of space worked very well for the piece both allowing game play and viewing. I like how the grid tied the ballistic barriers in with general platforms creating a large game board piece. I was worried at first that the objects would be too disparate. I downloaded and re-configured a Battleship board from the internet and transposed the number and letter grids on our floor. If you want to try against a computer, do it HERE.  battleship300x300So, that made a tough go for the generals who had to transpose as they began making calls. The other hiccup was when Bryan and I decided to adjust the grid by two feet so that Trina and Megan could walk without tripping on people. When Sam and Joe began laying tape and stenciling, we forgot to add on the extra foot on each end the grid ended at 9 instead of 10 squares. Brian had two hits in row ten that we just had to deal with quickly to not stop the game. Despite, giving everyone ship papers that told their hits and team, and me putting them against the wall outside of the space to double-check, I still missed the fact that Justin was missing one target on his back. Actually Brian should have had one more shot but we killed Justin off anyway since there were no targets left on his back.

Overall, everything went great. For the three things that we dealt with, twenty more things turned out better than imagined. Oh, I forgot to include that when we left to deliver the props, that they had shut down streets for the parade and the traffic jammed. It looked like St. Louis when the Cards play the Cubs. It took, I am not lying, one hour to drive from humanities to the lofts! It all came together, thanks again to everyone for all of their help!

Also, we should give Patrick thanks for hosting the post-receptions-reception. A great time was had by all! Thanks, Pat.



4 Responses to “Week 7”

  1. Marina Says:

    Congratulations. I’m glad to hear you are giving yourself a little R & R after last week. I am so impressed by you and your work. I am thrilled that you are here and I am so glad I’m getting to know and your work. I really enjoyed taking pictures of the Battlesapian performance. I think I got some good ones. I have them all on my computer if you want to get them off with a flash drive…I posted a few on my blog this week. I thought the performance went extremely well. It seemed like the perfect room for it, long and rectangular, matching the outline of the game board. You had payed such close attention to so many details and it made the whole experience really cohesive and professional.

    I think your instinct to watch and notice (people’s reactions and need to laugh) seems like a good one. Whether or not you intended it, people needed an emotional outlet and it is good that they felt they could have it there. One issue that I’d like to talk to you more about is about how (an if) the game of battleship can make people reflect on the current state of war, since the game is so unlike how our wars are fought today.

    The picture of the gals doing the dishes on the Battleship box was amazing. I heard a few people comment about how both the generals were male…which seemed necessary to me. Okay. I’m off to do a few things before meeting you to go to Doug’s house for class, so I’m sure we’ll talk a lot more about it.
    Congratulations on all of your hard work. Two major pieces in one week. Yeah, eat your dinner on the sofa. ; )

  2. psmyczek Says:

    Commander-in-Chief Sandberg,

    I have to thank you for giving me the opportunity to experience your performance Battlesapien. Since Friday night I’ve been revisiting all the little details I especially enjoyed from the performance. The lack of emotion, the tension, the excessive amount of blood, the laughter, etc. Great stuff. It seems like you’ve been all over the place rocking this program right out of the gates. Keep it up man.


  3. Dale Kaminski Says:

    Congratulations Sandy. It was a real success. I was happy to shoot some footage although I think that maybe it is a little to ping-pongish. We can edit it down to something cohesive. When the first blood bag was popped that really turned the mood in my mind from a game to something a little more sober. I am glad we took the time to re light the space. I thought that helped give it the mood of a war room.
    I appreciate your work ethic. You really go on all cylinders all the time. It is smart you are taking a little time out off. You don’t want to burn out. I find it really interesting the position you are in. You celebrate the military and criticize it too. I don’t think many people in the military do that, it would seem to be against the training and potentially dangerous to the guy next to you in the fox hole. I mean you can’t hesitate when it comes to taking a life and I would think that having a critical mind could potentially cause you to hesitate. I don’t think you knowingly would do that but isn’t that what they try and train into you; to react with an automatic killing instinct. You obviously did not have that aspect of yourself trained away, thats good! I can only speculate because I was never a military man but it is interesting to me how you paint a somewhat different picture of the armed forces it is not so cut and dried as I once thought.
    It is a different time now and your experience is really informing your work, it seems like you have a wealth of ideas and I am interested in seeing them. It was a pleasure to make our collaboration and I hope we can do it again. We might as , are batting a 1000 so far. Lets go for a pizza and build a webpage for Interstice sometime soon. We can host it at pakapaka.org. Thanks again for your good work. It is really impressive.

  4. ernestobravado Says:

    Damn! I missed the performance last Friday, I was hoping to see photos. Can you post some?


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