04.05.2017 / 05:00 p.m. – 07:00 p.m.
Philadelphia City Hall
1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19107, US
In this performance, Tania Bruguera walks through city streets in a garment made of earth, cloth, wood, and nails—the embodiment of a living nkisi nkonde, or Congolese power figure. Originally performed in 1998 in Havana on Fidel Castro’s birthday, Bruguera conceives of this work as “an allegorical way to approach political reality and the social promises that have been made and never kept.”
The performance is organized as part of the public program for Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie.
Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie features work by more than 50 international artists who have taken to the street to play detective, make fantastic maps, scavenge and shop for new materials, launch guerrilla campaigns, and make provocative spectacles of themselves to speak to issues as diverse as commodity fetishism, gentrification, gender politics, globalization, racism, and homelessness. The exhibition is on view February 25 through May 22, 2017, and features works, new performances, and historical pieces by Marina Abramović, Vito Acconci, Eleanor Antin, Constant, David Hammons, and Zhang Huan, among many others.
While much of the exhibition will be presented in the Barnes Foundation’s Roberts Gallery, Person of the Crowd will also reach into the city of Philadelphia. A series of performances—by artists including Sanford Biggers, Tania Bruguera, Ayana Evans, Zachary Fabri, and Wilmer Wilson IV—will take place on the streets of Philadelphia, and billboard and street poster projects will activate the city throughout the exhibition run.
The Barnes has also commissioned New York-based artist Man Bartlett to create a project site and digital artwork exploring themes related to the exhibition and the concept of “cyberflânerie.” Bartlett will act as a flâneur by documenting the street performances taking place throughout the run of the exhibition and inviting the general public to step into the position of the flâneur and share their perceptions of everyday urban life via social media using the hashtag #personofthecrowd. He will also work with teens in the Philadelphia region to develop videos documenting their own experiences as flâneurs inspired by their engagement in the public spaces of the city.
Bartlett will weave together this rich digital content—his documentation of the performances, the public’s social media posts as interpreted by a custom-built machine learning application, and Philadelphia students’ videos—to create the final piece which will live on a project site and will be projected inside the Barnes Foundation’s Annenberg Court.