I’m not an actress, obviously, but I am a role-player and sometimes that takes me strange places. Like into this film and its companion piece by the extraordinary and talented Brody Condon, at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The full thing is about an hour, I think. I get some great moments speaking to a goat and discussing personal boundaries during a gestalt therapy session with an alien entity, which was all par for the course in the original context. Playing with Ida Tjell, Martin Elricsson, Marie Holm-Anderson, Jaakko Stenros, Torgny Aanderaa and Nina Runa Essendrop was an honour and a pleasure. The game design was by Bjarke Pedersen of Odyssé.
The following is snipped from the press release:
Brody Condon’s solo exhibition To prove her zeal one woman ate mud., featuring a two-channel HD video installation commissioned by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, on view July 15, 2012 – February 24, 2013.
Brody Condon’s work often addresses the over-identification with fantasy prevalent in American culture. With that in mind, Condon designs performances that utilize live action role-playing techniques whereby he creates and populates temporary communes. While living at the fictionalized site, the group critically explores these issues in an experiential manner. For his exhibitions, Condon records on video these unscripted and often disorienting interactions, documenting them in an ethnographic style.
To prove her zeal one woman ate mud. was a small week long communal situation conceived specifically for this project, located inside a seven-story mill tower and nearby farm in the town of Wassaic, New York. The process combined elements from unorthodox 1940s American monastic communities, group encounter techniques such as Gestalt Therapy, and contemporary science fiction. Imagining themselves inhabiting an ecologically sustainable space station, the characters engaged in daily group encounter sessions led by an elusive artificial intelligence embodied by an abstract sculpture, which the artist inserted into the action as a non-human player. The video projection on view at The Aldrich presents the artist’s rendering of this fictional world, while a second video makes public for the first time Condon’s collaborative performance workshop procedures and process.
Game Mechanics: Bjarke Pedersen
Director of Photography: Paul Shin
Production Manager: Kate Scherer
Costume Consultation: Feral Childe
Plant Communication Consultation: Asher Hartman
Players: Ida Tjell, Martin Elricsson, Marie Holm-Anderson, Jaakko Stenros, Johanna Koljonen, Torgny Aanderaa, Nina Runa Essendrop
Yeah, there was a plant communication consultant, because we needed coaching in psychic plant communication. Which is speaking to plants telepathically. Because our characters did that. And we needed to really feel it.
I love my life.