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The Blame Game
In truth, it's probably Terry Allen's fault, says Moad, the Fresno-based artist known for her wild hair, yellow VW Bug (rims and all) and dada-laced performances pieces. Her show "Wheel of Dada," starts at the Rogue this weekend.
Only, she was still a student in the art department at Fresno State at the time (he was her professor), and maybe didn't know it.
She'd done performance art before. Her first piece (not withstanding the puppet shows she put on with her brother out the bathroom window) was for a class, a three-part creation called "Opera Cat," that included visuals, sound and performance. She staged it in the courtyard on campus.
But Allen changed the way she looked at art (in quotes).
She began to question product versus process.
For instance: Trek Thunder Kelly, an artist from Venice (Beach), spent each day of 2006 with a different word written on his body. The words, submitted from viewers on his Web site, became part of a 365 word poem.
That's process and product.
Or, the S.F. based Antenna Theater group, who created an installation piece at Fresno State in the 1980s. They had the audience directed through the piece via a Walkman and headphones, while the performers walked around in Picasso-style cubist masks. "And everyone did what they were told to do in a different way," Moad says. "You really became part of the piece."
"And now, for me, it's all process," Moad says.
Her work strives to destroy the line between artist (in quotes) and audience (in quotes), she says, and create an experience that happens for both, together.
In "Dada Voodoo," Moad created a performance from an 18-inch-tall voodoo doll, name tags, darts, Polaroid photos and the audience. Each participant was given a name tag and three darts, was instructed to write a behavior, action, condition, attitude or mojo that had a hold over them.
The name was placed on the voodoo doll and the darts were thrown in its general direction, symbolically eradicating the power of the chosen irritant.
Mallory took Polaroids of each person standing next to their "target." The photos were signed and posted within the installation, creating an exhibit that evolved over the course of the evening.
For "Wheel of Dada," it's a roll of the die or the spin of a wheel.
But don't worry, shy ones, she doesn't drag people on to the stage, try to embarrass anyone for a quick laugh.
When it works, the experience can be wonderful for all involved, she says.
When it doesn't work?
Maybe she gets a review. Her worst suggested that she be chopped up into tiny pieces and served, buffet-style, to the audience. That's far beyond "you suck."
But she knows the risks, and on those days you just have to go with it.
"And hope they don't write a review."