Re-enactment is an interesting thing. One can be as divergent as possible, as interpretive as can be, and yet…the moment it is known that the piece is not only inspired by—but is meant to recreate—an existing piece, the viewer is almost obligated to view the new as framed by the old. While this is incredibly useful in examining the piece, it’s important to consider each work on its own merits as well.
To re-enact, however, one must have instructions. These can range from the incredibly simple “notes-to-self-within-my-head” to the pointedly complex aspect-for-aspect perfectionist dissertation. Both are incredibly good, and the range they encompass is very intriguing. However, not many people consider the actual instructions to be art pieces in and of themselves.
This assignment was twofold: first, watch a performance piece and create instructions for re-enacting said piece. Second, exchange instructions with another person and create a re-enactment based on the instructions received. Both pieces could be as divergent or faithful as desired, and the artists involved could be as diligent or tangential in carrying out their given instructions as they wanted. I was given “Museum Highlights” by Andrea Fraser, and the instructions shown are my divergent take on Fraser’s commentary.
The piece was printed out and mounted on a board to mimic museum displays. While the words are sectioned off to suggest wildly divergent sets of ideas, the actual phrases are worded to be as close to each other (yet separate) as possible.