Critique of piece I saw during the S.O.D.A. audition

In order to relate what I saw without being descriptive I will offer a short list of whats that I saw:
1. a tattoo
2. a cube
3. black tape
4. gestures
5. white tape
6. a hypodermic needle
7. blood

My feedback about the piece would be to simplify. The piece has at least three different pieces in it – Man with Cube, Man with Tape and Man with Needle. He should pick one of them and investigate it more deeply. I would suggest that he keep his manipulation of the tape to a minimum and not rearrange the tape once it is on the wall. Also I would suggest that the black tape movement section occur further downstage facing the audience. The tape is already abstract and geometric and his focal and spatial choices re-enforced that. Maybe it was his intention to replicate the impersonal nature of the tape. But what I saw was more of a coping mechanism than an artistic choice.

Black tape plus movement plus white tape plus the downstage space plus low level movement plus text plus needle plus blood. Eight dimensions in all. Is this piece, then, about the progression towards the multidimensional, the ultra dimensional he said he was seeking? I do not know. I can not say whether or not this piece worked as I do not know what he was trying to achieve. I can say whether or not I liked the piece. I did not. But whether or not I liked it is of little importance. I can say what it made me think of. The use of the cube made me think of Donald Judd. The black tape pictographs on the white wall made me think of Lawrence Wiener and Robert Motherwell. The piercing of the skin made me think of Chris Burden and Marina Abramovic.

Any of these references, though, is at best a stretch and more present in my perception of the performance than in Riccardo’s presentation of the piece. This brings up the question of what does an audience need to know about the work. Do we need to know what the artist knows? Do we need to have the same frame of reference? Do we need those references to get out of the piece what the artist put into the piece? Is it important for the viewers to get what the artist is saying? Or is the artist creating something for us the respond to with our own references?

Despite not liking it, I feel that of the pieces I saw yesterday this piece had the richest vocabulary to be investigated. And I intend on taking his Man with Tape piece and investigating it further.


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