Sabina Kariat

reACtion: a performance art show

Urku Portfolio

Max Mcinnis (RISD furniture major) and I collaborated to hold a show within the RISD museum, open to all students.The writing below is a proposal I wrote for for the project.

"We would like to call an open submission to the student body of RISD for performance art referencing social identities. Our goal is to reflect the many diverse styles of being and existing, within the space of RISD, the space of our own bodies, and the space of our own self-perception.

Having this performance in the context of the museum is essential. Though history is often told on a macro scale, art has the power to focus on the micro that is based on individual lived experiences. We want to harness the power of personal narrative and performance and place it into the context of art history that the museum offers. We also want to recognize curation as an implicit act of censorship; one that can deny the identity of an artist existence, and to offer a space for performance within the museum that deconstructs this censorship. When a work of art is curated in a museum, it is framed and respected; its right to be documented is acknowledged. We want to give the student voice that same respect.

'reACtion' will be a dialogue with the exhibit, “Intermission,” by providing an intermission of its own, a suspension in time and history where the barriers between the storyteller and the story, art and performance, history and the present, are imperceptible. Within this space, we want to address the nature of the artworks: work by European artists between the 12th and 19th century. We want to recognize the stories that have been omitted and erased within the work, and the identities that have not been given representation. In decolonizing and complexifying a predominantly white, Eurocentric, heteronormative space, we want to reinforce goals for the museum that involve a complex, diverse, decolonial retelling of history and the present. Within this “Intermission,” we want to provide a space in which student voices and identities are honored and validated as the works on the wall, in which every perspective is deserving of preservation.

A museum is an act of preservation, and we want to participate in this act by cataloguing our identities as manifestations of contemporary life. This performance ensures space for marginalized identities in the face of a history that has often omitted diverse lived experiences. It functions as a statement that we will not allow this moment in history to be defined by a movement of exclusion, racism, and bigotry, but by the reactive voices that rise against it."