yellow sidewalk/august 2004, SF
God: Kevin Mcelroy
Painter: Tim Nutt
Suit X & Y: Biba Bell and Joshua Zimmermann
Tourist: Phoebe Seligman
The face of the building is yellow. It is the same yellow as the curb of the loading zone, the desert, Iraq. This is the storefront, it is our home, and it is the sidewalk in front of it on iron wood which we reside. The sidewalk is made up of squares and has the dimensions of 5 by 8 squares, totaling 40 square spaces. The street around us is busy with traffic and ìArt lookersî doing the gallery thing, first Thursday of the month. Cars and trucks drive by on the street, making noise and there is a man playing the saxophone on a fire escape just around the corner. One cannot see him from our sidewalk vantage point, but one can hear the music as it echoes through the tunnels of this downtown metropolis.
There are four of us in this space. God, the painter, suit X, and suit Y. God sits at his typewriter and dictates the events, the story of man, carried out by suit X and suit Y through the liason of the painter. The interactions between suit X and suit Y take place as a dialogue in the form of a dance. This dance is a conversation that continues, stopping and starting, as God types the orders and the painter delivers them. God throws the I Ching, this is the guide and oracle which makes the specific decisions as to the amount of steps taken across the squares by the suits, and who dies at the end of each section of conversation. God is both mystic and scientist, in the most perfect repore. God types each move that is to be made by suit X and suit Y on little cards, these are either tossed or made into paper airplanes and flown to the painter.
The painter is the one who interacts with both worlds. Perched on a white ladder that leans against the face of the yellow building he can see the whole environment, the street, the pedestrians, the traffic, the dogs, the garbage trucks, the suits, the sidewalk, God, etc. He is the only one privy to the world of the ìArt lookersî in downtown San Francisco 2004. And he is the only one who can be approached and communicate with pedestrians or members of the audience. He is also the one who connects the world of God and the suits within our yellow sidewalk game (of life).
The painter is given the notes written by God, one at a time. He translates the messages into sound, hitting bells or a xylophone or something else yet to be decided which has two notes, one high & one low. Suit X and suit Y will correspond with one of these notes, and their moves on the 40 squares of sidewalk. After each phrase or sequence (lasting 1-3 minutes) either suit X or Y will die. The painter will then retrieve a silhouette shadow and stick it to the yellow wall of the building. As the piece progresses more and more shadows will go up creating a landscape of the deaths of the suits. After each death both suits will begin again, both alive to start the next interaction.
The piece continues for 30 minutes to 1 hour in length. The sun will begin to set behind the buildings, changing the intensity of the yellow facade. The landscape will continue to develop through this course, and eventually the space will be left empty with the landscape of silhouetted bodies as the mark of our event and story.
**there is the possibility of adding one more character to the piece, a viewer/audience/photographer who will pace the street, or perhaps just continuously walk around the block passing the performance space repeatedly, each time stopping there at the yellow building to <gawk> and take a picture. She would be the tourist.