Last week, the Glassbox did something new — a performance art festival replaced the typical week-long exhibition.
Hosted by second-year masters in fine arts student Maiza Hixson, “MULTIMODAL is an experimental festival that entertains an expansive definition of performance — from cooking, cleaning and video gaming — to makeup tutorials, meditation and more,” according to a press release sent by the art department.
According to the press release, “MULTIMODAL builds upon theorist Richard Schechner’s mapping of performance as a continuum of human actions ranging from ritual,” and Hixson believes it is the first performing arts festival to be hosted in the Glassbox Gallery.
“The traditional art object is very easily sold to a buyer, and there is a much more traditional quiet way of interfacing with the gallery, but I believe a gallery should be a space for experimentation and not necessarily a church-like atmosphere where you have to be quiet and somber,” Hixson said. “This is an environment that really needs people to express themselves and give them a chance to not be so academic in their approach to art.”
“My performance will begin from the tip of a paint brush that is covered in power and conclude within the imagery of sacred myths. The very act of striking with pigment is ancient, and when colors spread into an array of emotions, those around will see within themselves the ongoing will to live,” second-year MFA student Andrew Morrison said. “From the beginning of visual poetry, minds have begun to understand what it means to truly find history within the color red and tribal beliefs.” He is dedicating his performance to the I.V. mural class and will be performing on Friday.
Serene Blumenthal, a first-year MFA student, spoke highly of the festival. “It’s a very intensely experimental and free space,” she said. “I think it’s important because we live in this threshold, and I don’t think we’re allowed to or asked to process things in a way that is physical or interactive.”
Blumenthal’s performative work focuses on cognition and processes. “The ultimate part of my performance is sort of like about gesture and movement and this moment of cognition between thinking about something and doing something,” she said. “I’m really interested in that, when something has to be thought through and cognized before being made able to happen.”
For Hixson, it was important to create a space that would allow diversity and a platform for experimentation. “I tried to create a platform where I could bring in as many diverse artists as possible, from diverse backgrounds, different ethnicities and artistic interests as well,” she said.
So far, Hixson is satisfied with the turnout and performances and said it “surpassed expectations.”
The festival ran through Friday, Feb. 15, concluding with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. and opportunities to speak with the performers.