Bay area artist Lucas Murgida’s (w)hole project taps into an idea of herding (controlling or influencing movement) that I’m really interested in:
“To address issues of herding and predicting through the use of consumption I have been examining two distinct things. The first is how food is used to move and stimulate animals and the second is the delicate and vulnerable nature of the mouth (w)hole.”
The (w)hole installation has a smart edge to it. I wish I could have experienced its uncomfortable but familar (in the form of a wooden refridgerator) sparseness. And I appreciate his friendly approach to performance art and that for each uncomfortable position he asks others to enter he puts himself into an even more uncomfortable one. He’s doing interesting things with authority and soothing– what a nice break from the mean-spirited, shocking, or even sadistic tone that performative work can take.
Lucas focuses on jaw tension as an indicator of contemporary stress and invites visitors to let him massage the muscles inside their mouths:
“Many people (including myself) hold a tremendous amount of tension in and around the muscles and joints of the jaw. (Metaphorically, this is where “consumption” is given physical articulation). The muscles of consumption tend to become tight and locked as they are constantly implored to extract energy from other things and at the same time are called upon up to open and close to allow a persons personal energy to escape as he or she breathes and talks. When these muscles relax some people experience a quieting sensation throughout their entire body. Though the action of touching these muscles is quite invasive and uncomfortable while it is occurring afterwards most will feel a certain amount of relief.”
The idea of pleasure as a result of the removal of pain is something Canandian neuroscientist Brian Dunn has studied alot. (Hopefully I can find a link to this study.)