In March, I helped organize visiting artist Andy Graydon’s public performance Garden Paths, which was a companion piece to his sound installation Fig. 1 (these things we know), now in the Arts of Hawai‘i Gallery through May 31.
For the performance, Andy positioned five women in each of the museum’s courtyards where they recited text describing an object in the museum’s collection. One of the performers was Lurana O’Malley, a professor with the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of Theatre and Dance.
Standing in front of the Museum Café, she incanted: “Cracks radiate down through your face, some of them like wrinkles down your stout throat. Your neck is carved squarely and connects to the long elongated rectangle of your body. Your eyes are not evenly set, the right is above the left, giving the impression of a head cocked slightly to one side…”
The fun thing is that when Lurana and I first met, she asked to see an image of the object she would be describing. I deferred the request to Andy and he said, “No.” He wanted the performers to rely on the words and description to drive their performance. After the performance, Lurana again asked if she could see the work of art she had described. Andy agreed to send it to her, and then we all decided it would be cool if she tried to draw the object based on the description before looking at the image. She agreed and sent her drawing to me.
Then she got to see the actual object she was describing. She was totally spot on.