While performance art in Boston is known to be more conceptual than theatrical, you need not have a trained eye to understand or appreciate it. A sense of curiosity and the patience to allow the work to unfold before your eyes is far more fitting. I've come to understand that the narratives presented are often non-linear. Instead, they stem from a much more emotional and spontaneous place. Our artists, focused in thought or difficult actions, quickly become blind to prying eyes. The viewer is beckoned to exist within the psychological boundaries of the performer, inviting an intimacy I have come to admire.
The Present Tense's Vimeo Channel provides a virtual portal to the performances at Chicago's Defibrillator, where the first installment of Rough Trade II took place. When asked if Boston was well represented in a midwest setting, Schaefer confidently replied: "the artists presented their best work." The footage, beautifully shot by Daniel DeLuca, and edited by Schaefer, is stylized and tailored to each artist’s known strengths as a performer.
Last week, Schaefer and Joseph Ravens, the director of Defibrillator, invited five Chicago-based artists to MassArt's Pozen Center to complete the month-long exchange. Footage of Rough Trade II's Boston installment is currently becoming available The Present Tense's Vimeo Channel. Check their blog periodically for extended artist talks and interviews on the performance works throughout the exchange. The dialogue between action-based artists in Boston and Chicago is one Schaefer hopes to continue.