performance with Tilman Mueller-Stöfen
"Performancetage Linz"; Herrenstrasse 56; Linz, Austria. 2007
I pick a man out of the audience, seemingly at random.
Standing a few feet apart, we face each other in the center of the room, and engage in a staring contest. When one person blinks, the loser takes a step backward, while the winner takes a step forward.
The audience, unaware of the nature of the performance, witnesses two people locked in an intense gaze, occasionally moving forward / backward in space in relation to each other, in perfect synchrony.
As it happened, I lost every match. The contest continued for several more rounds even after I had been backed into the wall behind me, and no further backward steps could be taken.
photos by: Wolgang Tragseiler
Solo exhibition; Raum 58; Munich, Germany. 2006
Sitting on some steps, I am in a slightly elevated position where I can see each person in the audience in front of me. No instruction is given. I hold a small flashlight in my hand, which I use to alert the individual with whom I wish to engage in an unannounced staring contest. I get the attention of my chosen subject by briefly shining the light in their face, then locking my eyes with theirs unblinkingly. Some people maintain eye contact, but blink as usual. When a blink happens, either because one is unaware of the nature of the unspoken game, or out of necessity, I move on to the next individual, at random and in turn, without missing anyone. Watching me, people gradually realize what the game is, and begin to outstare me with increasing ease, as my eyes grow red and teary from not blinking. Only one person refuses to be engaged, avoiding eye contact even when they perceive the light on their face.
photos by:Alex Alluskewitz