The Ritual Factory – Documentation of an Interactive Environment
Video, performance, installation 2013
An altered gallery where passersby were hawked at “to come experience the ritual factory!” Offering people something that “will only take five minutes of your time” was a method of circus-like prompting that gave bystanders, often just bustling on their way, a reason to enter the gallery space. This entrance dynamic acted in contrast to its norm, where hundreds usually walk by without a passing glance five days a week. Upon entering, the participant encountered four stations in succession, each shielded from view of the other by plastic walls. Station one: receive a clay coil pot and decorate it. “A friend to guide you on your journey,” while also harkening back to that last art related memory for many – coil clay pots crafted in lower school. Station two: As directed, scoop slop and throw it at one of the two naked figures. Instructor and naked bodies remain silent, and instructions for the next station are not provided until the participants comply with the present directions. Station three: While kneeling, read a randomly selected manifesto aloud to commercial like projections spouting from a plastic mouth. Station four: walk up a staircase into the ceiling, and then smash your pot against white cubes and the gallery floor. The end. A contemplative reexamination of the Mill studies that revealed that people will just do as they are told and never question what is actually going on if there is an authority figure relaying orders – while simultaneously offering an Art interaction that is incoherent in accordance with most people’s daily activities in order to form new perspectives, at least for the few minutes they spent engaging with the Ritual Factory.