HOW MY 89 YEAR OLD FATHER BECAME A PERFORMANCE ARTIST
Linda M Montano
DECEMBER 27, 2001 my dad had a stroke. The MRI revelaed that it was a major stroke on top of another older stroke along with chronic ischemias. I am his primary caretaker. I perform this honor of being his caretaker as both a daughter and as an artist. Here are some of my findings:
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS sculpt with time, appropriating it by performing endurances which erase/celebrate it's importance.(TEHCHING HSIEH'S ONE YEAR LIVING IN A CAGE)
DAD sometimes lives in a biological/neuronal timelessness induced by medication/illness and needs prompting as to time's use and purpose.
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS lavishly use materials appropriate to their concept.(KAREN FINLEY'S USE OF CHOCOLATE AS AN ART TOOL)
DAD now uses water and paper creatively instead of pragmatically, and it is now a material to be played with and enjoyed.
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS act spontaneously/illegally/outrageously to reproduce their vision.(CHRIS BURDEN HAS A BULLET SHOT INTO HIS ARM)
DAD acts spontaneously and erratically sometimes because of his stroke, moving from crying to laughing within seconds .
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS create accessories and clothing which are imitative of wearable sculpture.(PAT OLESZKO'S STREET COSTUMES)
DAD, once impeccably groomed, now disregards the impact of his appearance on others.
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS go anywhere, do anything so that their daily life issues can be transformed into tolerable ordinariness.(STELARC'S BODY HANGINGS
DAD, stripped of much logic, lives liminally in a surreal suspension.
PERFORMANCE ART AUDIENCES are informed, cultivated, curried, found, invited, ignored, outraged, entertained, disgusted, disenchanged, wooed and become witnesses/co-healers of performance artist's actions.(ADRIEN PIPER'S LIBRARY SERIES)
DAD'S audience of concerned family members, attending medical personnell, caretakers, onlookers fearfull of their own aging/fate, all become reminders of his changed status and/or become extensions of his physical-self, making it easier for him to live comfortably with assistance.
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS change their consciousness via trance induced states, ecstatic rituals and repetitive actions.(MARINA ABRAMAVICH AND ULAY'S TRATAKAM MEDITATIONS)
DAD is both medicated but also close to life's greatest mystery, death, and as a result his inner quiet, stillness and intense presence, gift those around him with a contact high.
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS create/communicate new languages, new sounds, new ways of sonically communicating meaning.(PAULIINE OLIVEROS' SONIC MEDITATIONS)
DAD'S verbal associations are often dream-like, fun, non-sequitors which invite collaboration and poetic word-play.
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS, especially those performing in the 70's, disregarded financial issues and focused on the process of non-commodified aesthetic explorations.(TERRY FOX'S HOSPITAl-INSPIRED ENDURANCES)
DAD, once an astute and powerfull businessman, has absolutely no access to society's money games anymore.
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS sometimes create multiple personas conversant with cultural stereotypes or their own aspirations.(LINDA M MONTANO PERFORMING AS A GURU)
DAD asks often, "How should I prepare to meet GOD?"
PERFORMANCE ARTIST have a choice.
DAD has no choice.
Linda M Montano>MARCH, 2002, SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK