““Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art: the artistic power of the whole of nature reveals itself to the supreme gratification of the primal Oneness amidst the paroxysms of intoxication”
I left my making comfort zone a little bit this summer. For the past two years, for Shannon Stratton’s “Party as Form” class, I’ve been invited to lecture about the Friday night costume parties at Ox-Bow and I’ve taken the opportunity to unpack my history with partying (raving, costuming, general raging) in these talks. I’ve felt that as an artist working with social strategies that partying is one of the most inclusive, participatory acts of social interaction and could be a perfect form for this type of work. Also, I feel that pleasure is central to my work and what is more pleasurable than partying? As boy Nietzsche so succinctly puts it above, partying is a selfless, collective activity. So partying might have a hard time jiving with the authorship-obsessed endeavor that is art making. Social practitioners might be too hung up on trying to prove that their work is productive and functional and making an argument, when maybe, the form of sociability is organic and messy and based in desire. Dionysian rather than Apollinarian.
So I made a shrine to my own party world, which you could say is a rather insular exercise. Though Ox-Bow, as a tiny community, has the inherent nature of being inclusive and collective. And much of the population enjoys the Friday night parties, so I felt like I had a captive, party literate audience that would recognize my signifiers. I wanted to make a ritualized space for people to party in, a shrine to the Dionysiac at Ox-Bow. I started to see elements of costumes as objects embedded with activity, a living record of their very active history. This piece (documented here in video) is a jumping off spot, an investigation into shared experience, fetishized activity, an attempt to find party as form.