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Brian Connolly - the market

I approached the PAS Workshop in Bratislava considering the Nomadic Arts Festival parameters of ‘Neighbourhood & Territory’. As I was scheduled to perform in the local market place I decided to centre my workshop input on this specific location.

I met with the PAS Workshop Group and introduced my ideas of the ‘market place’ and the act of market trading as a kind of microcosm of the global economy. The market place is a context where interactions take place, where the public and traders, can be both audience and participants. I introduced the idea of the market place as a ‘Disintegrated audience’ instead of an ‘Integrated audience’ (quote form Wladislaw Kazmierczak, PANI 3 publication, BBeyond.), (like one would find at festival events or within a gallery context.) I.e. there is a level of unpredictability in relation to audience reaction when working in such a public location.

I spoke about the public, in the market, as very focused and actively looking for things, the best deals, the best quality, or what they can afford to buy. However, they may find you, the artist, instead.

I then read a series of questions about the market and trading activities and asked the group to consider these within their first task, which was an observational exercise in the form of an individual walk through the market. The group were asked to take note of their observations into the nature of the context, transactions & interactions that they saw. They were asked to leave the market after an allotted time had passed. Their findings were then discussed.

The second task asked the group to return to the market, each arriving at slightly different times and carrying a chair. They were instructed to buy something that they felt was of significance. Once they had made a purchase they were instructed to take their chair and sit at a specific location, behind the market stalls. One by one they were to sit in a row, facing the market, and holding their purchases in front of them. Their individual action became a group action. When the last participant arrived they were to sit for a few minutes and then leave.

Their experience was then discussed.

The final action saw them return to the market in their own time but on this occasion they were asked to balance their purchases on their body in some way, move through the market in silence, and then find some way to leave their objects behind.