I just got back from a whirlwind trip to the annual NCECA (National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts) conference, held in Seattle this year. I was there with the other members of The Brick Factory (a performance collective we formed during a residency at Watershed last summer). We presented a series of live performances over the course of 4 days as part of the Project Space exhibitions. Performances ranged from ceramic-themed reworkings of well-known historical performance art works, new original works created specifically for NCECA, and a few off-site interventions. For more information and documentation, check out The Brick Factory website, where we will be adding more posts soon.
This series brings together a group of artists whose hybrid practices incorporate craft and performance. Numerous recent craft projects and exhibitions have emphasized the ways that craft can be used to build community (either as a political tool or as a relational project). In contrast, the projects in this series use the performance of traditional craft activities like knitting and weaving to address ideas of competition and self-interest or to place their creators in a position of advantage. The projects in this series all involve the live creation of new craft works, and thus reveal links between the repetitive and time-consuming actions of crafting and durational performance art practices. Taken together, these performances provide a means to rethink relationships between craft, domesticity, traditional gender roles, and distinctions between the private and public spheres.
A publication accompanying this exhibition, featuring an extended curatorial text “Crafty Advantage: Craft, Performance, and Competition,” was published by M:ST in 2011, and a journal article “Craft Off: Performance, Competition, and Anti-Social Crafting/Performance, compétition et métiers d’art asociaux” was published in the Cahiers métiers d’art/ Craft Journal, Volume 5 Number 2 Spring 2012.
Reviewed by Dick Averns for Akimbo, Oct 11, 2010.