durational performance: 4 hours
"NIPAF pre-event"; Design Festa; Tokyo, Japan. 2005
During a (non-art) fair, passersby are invited to either smack or smooch the artist. A poster gives instructions to participants to write down their name, age, gender, and choice of smack / smooch. A photographer takes a polaroid of them slapping or kissing the artist, then gives the picture to them as a souvenir, as well as a small gift.
If someone had chosen "Smooch", the gift was a Hershey’s Kiss (sweet, nourishing, fattening). If they had chosen "Smack", they would receive a preserved sour plum (acrid, astringent, medicinal). Each little bag also included a slip of paper bearing the text: "Is the world is little sweeter / a little less sweet today, because you exist?"
I was slapped and kissed by over 70 people that afternoon; some made their choices casually / playfully, while others pondered for several minutes before deciding on an act.
Young women gave the sharpest slaps, as well as the most open and wet kisses. Men gave either chaste pecks, or they asked to be slapped instead.
photos by: Craig Campbell