Sunday, May 10, 2015

Exhibition- Tehching Hsieh

I attended the artist's lecture and exhibition for performance artist Tehching Hsieh on April 16th. Being a performer (while not on the same level as Hsieh) and being appreciative of performance art, I figured this would be a good event for me to attend. The piece that was featured was the "One Year Performance (1980-1981)". It entailed a recording of every single time the time clock was punched for a total of 365 days, occurring hourly. Right before the performance, he shaved his head. The time clock was punched hourly for a total of 24 times a day, meaning that Hsieh had to sacrifice sleep in order to carry out this performance. He used modified alarm clocks to wake himself to make sure that the time clock was punched on time; this took a great physical toll on the body. He punched the clock a total of 8,760 times over the course of one full year.
I think that the devotion to this performance piece is something to be recognized and admired. When performing a task that grows incredibly redundant and unnecessary, Hsieh became fully dedicated to this task and gave it more meaning than it really had. While plenty of people might do this during their job, Hsieh actually made punching a clock his job. This work, and the rest of his "One Year Performance" pieces show his tenacity and what it means to be a performance artist to him.

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