Engaging the Viewer

                                                                                                                                            with Marilyn Arsem


Course Description

Who is your audience?  How do you engage with them in your work? What do you expect of them? What do you want to tell them?  What do you want to learn from them?  Whether you are creating interventions on the street, instruction pieces, participatory works, or presentational performances in front of a large audience, you are working in relation to the audience, and an exchange is always taking place between you and the viewers.

An audience who actively chooses to come to see your performance engages with the work differently than the audience who unintentionally encounters your work in a public setting within the context of their daily life. And when they are asked to be an active participant, yet another level of engagement is invoked. The environment in which your work is seen - the location, the time of day, other activities that are happening in the vicinity of your work, how you appear, how you initiate an action, also impact how viewers respond to you.

This workshop explores a spectrum of ways with which performance artists might interact with their viewers. You will design and perform different kinds of actions that experiment with your relationship to the audience and consider different strategies that you might use in engaging them in the work.  The live sessions will include performance exercises that you have prepared, as well as discussions of the work and readings.  Assignments between sessions include a weekly action in public space, readings, and preparations for the exercises in the online sessions. You will also be asked a set of related questions each week to reflect on and write about privately.  
For a final project, you will be asked to create a participatory performance, and present documentation of the work.

The course follows a format of four live sessions over the course of five weeks: October 1, 8, 15, and 29, with the week of October 20th dedicated to the preparation of final works. Individual meetings about the final project will be scheduled in week 3.



About Marilyn Arsem

Performance artist Marilyn Arsem has been creating and performing live events for more than forty years, presenting her work in thirty countries around the globe. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, she also teaches performance art workshops internationally. Many of her works are durational in nature, minimal in actions and materials, and have been created in response to specific sites, engaging with their history, use or politics. Arsem taught for 27 years at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, establishing an extensive program in visuallky-based performance art. In 1975 Arsem founded an artist collaborative for experimentation, now known as Mobius Artists Group. Mobius has presented work involving thousands of artists over its 40+year history. A book on Arsem/s work, Responding to Site: The performance work of Marilyn Arsem, edited by Jennie Klein and Natalie Loveless, was published in 2020 by Intellect Books of the UK. Additional information about her work can be found on her website: http://marilynarsem.net



AVAILABILITY: places available
DURATION: October 1-29 2024 (no session on April 2), Tuesdays 6-8PM CET
LOCATION: Online course
TUITION FEE: 175 €  (no equipment required)
APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 26, 2024



Course Image Caption:  
Marilyn Arsem, "Disintegration, " 2015, performance, photo by Antti Ahonen