monica johan bose

Unwrapping Unwrapped: A Performance/Installation by Monica Jahan-Bose

This past Thursday Hillyer Art Space hosted UNWRAPPED A Post-Performance Dialogue and Dinner with the artist Monica Jahan-Bose and many other women who performed the piece with Bose at the (e)merge Art Fair. Bose describes the performance piece as such: “UNWRAPPED is inspired by the Indian mythological story of Draupadi, the eternal virgin who was married to five brothers, as well as the true story of Bose’s grandmother’s marriage at age seven. Speaking to women’s rights to education and over their own bodies, the performance involves wrapping and unwrapping the body with a 216-foot sari covered with writing by women from Bose’s grandmother’s village in Bangladesh, part of a collaboration called Storytelling with Saris.”

 The main room at Hillyer was buzzing with activity and excitement as guests and performers discussed the performance over food and drinks. The slideshow of photographs from the performance in October captured the movement and raw emotion found in the piece so for those who had missed the live showing, the energy and expression in UNWRAPPED was still quite clear.

 The performers were eager to share their experiences and the illuminating moments they felt during the show, which spoke to Bose’s intentions behind her work. The women cited the difficulty of working with the enormous sari and the brutal external conditions, including extreme heat and wind, as a source of turmoil that intertwined all the performers and made them come together to execute Bose’s vision.

 Artist and UNWRAPPED performer, Carolyn Becker explored the many cathartic moments she had with her fellow participants and the rest of the discussion members. One could really feel the sense of strength and accomplishment that the performers felt and this idea of women’s empowerment, a main focal point behind UNWRAPPED.

 After the discussion, I asked Monica if she found the egregious conditions somewhat frustrating because they caused such a tortured and pained look on her face in the photographs and added to the difficulty of the performance about vitality and emancipation. She replied that, while yes there were unforeseen complications, these added to the work. The physical difficulty enhanced the idea of women embracing and leaning on each other to better their circumstances and liberate themselves.

 The mood of the evening was festive and inspiring. Eames Armstrong, a performance artist who collaborated with Bose on UNWRAPPED, was a great host. Performance art can be a genre that is difficult to approach at times, however, the Hillyer’s event promoted a constructive dialogue between artists, performers, and attendees that was energizing and enlightening.

For more on Storytelling with Saris click here.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Mica Hartman 

Photo Credit: http://storytellingwithsaris.com/ai1ec_event/unwrapped-performance/?instance_id=

2013 PERFORMANCEs + ART ACTIONS SCHEDULE:

DAILY, throughout the FAIR: 
Benjamin Andrew - Chronoecology Corps
The artist creates a narrative in which time-traveling scientists from the 23rd-century operate a field station to collect and study the natural world before it disappears. Presenting interactive simulations of natural phenomena, they conduct participatory research at the fair, collecting visitor interviews to be added to an online memory bank.
LL/2, 12pm, various times

Nancy Daly - #LookingForLove 
Monitoring social media over the four days of the fair, the artist progressively creates a large sculpture consisting of nautical knots known as “monkey paws.” Every time someone uses the hashtag #LookingForLove, she will add another knot to the sculpture. 
HALL A/12, 12pm, various times

Double A Projects (Athena Robles and Anna Stein) -PROJECT MICRO-FLOAT 
Using practices from microfinance, pledge giving, crowdfunding, IOUs and other alternative strategies, this public art action launches a social campaign for artists and arts supporters to explore concepts of self-worth and financial networking. Visitors can browse artist projects that need funding, cast their free vote to float a project, and symbolically pledge to support a lending circle, a cause they believe in, or the cultural arena as a whole.
ROOM 3/16, 12pm, various times

Adam Void + Chelsea Ragan - Freedom Is Not For Sale 
This active installation explores traveling cultures, makeshift homesteads, and life “off the grid.” This folk-art Wunderkammer highlights the beautiful struggle of life on the road by coupling handcrafted treasures with found oddities.
Pool Deck/47, 12pm, various times

Andrew Wodzianski - Self Portrait as Jack Torrance
In this endurance-based performance, the artist replicates the obsession of Stephen King’s protagonist/antagonist in The Shining. Repetitively typing a prescriptive proverb inside the hotel lobby, the artist, acting as Jack Torrance, is condemned to artistic failure.
LOBBY/48, 12pm, various times

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3
Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 5pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth 
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection.
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 5pm

Borjana Ventzislavova - 15 Min. Rest
Visitors are invited to rest and read passages from the U.S. Constitution in a bedroom set up in a public area. Participants will receive Polaroid photos taken of them by the artist, as their actions prompt consideration about whether the Constitution has contemporary relevance beyond that of a bedtime story or a dream.
time: 3 hours
LL/45, 5pm

Armando Lopez Bircann – Animals + Fire - ARLOBI - Emerge 2013 Mix
The artist will present a collection of multimedia, ceremonial performances. These works play with the formats of performance, the ritualization of self-portraiture, and the activation of performative sculptures.
time: 2 hours
LL/AREA D, 5:30pm

Monica Jahan Bose - Unwrapped
The artist will wrap and unwrap her body with a 216-foot sari inscribed with writing by women from her grandmother’s village in Bangladesh. Drawing inspiration from the Indian myth of Draupadi, the eternal virgin who was married to five brothers, as well as her grandmother’s factual marriage at age seven, the artist’s performance speaks to the rights of women for education and autonomy over their own bodies. 
time: 1 hour
ROOM 1/25, 6pm

Benoit Izard “BIZARD” – Animals + Fire - KISSERS
Two anonymous nude persons are sealed in a kissing position by a double head mask. Kissing and hugging continuously for one hour, the performers reduce their action to nothing but a presence, which manifests between them and their viewers.
time: 1.5 hours
POOL DECK/AREA D, 7:15pm

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4
Paul Shortt - The Legitimate Artist
The artist will carry an enlarged replica of his Master of Fine Arts diploma around the fair as he interacts with attendees. Posing for pictures and declaring his qualifications as a legitimate artist, Shortt enacts a critique of artistic credentialing, thereby calling into question the categories of amateur and professional art. 
time: 7 hours
LL/41, 12pm

Kirsty Little – Overload
This trapeze-inspired performance aims to capture the feeling of a modern phenomenon, thecultural fascination of wanting it all and the rush to the top of what may seem to be a precarious ladder. Amid too much information, too much expectation, and too little time, the artist asks if we ever get to the end of our to-do list and considers whether this is what we really desire.
time: 15 minutes
POOL DECK/28, 1:30pm

Alex Braden - Outside and Play
Positioned throughout the parking garage and wearing headphones, several musicians, who have never rehearsed together, will play along to a recording of the artist's composition, which is publicly available for prior download at www.alexanderbraden.com. As the musicians begin to play their parts in isolation, visitors may press “play” on their own digital audio players, then roam through the garage with their headphones on, listening to a dynamic blend of recorded music and live performance. 
time: 15 minutes

LL/7, 1:30pm

Borjana Ventzislavova - 15 Min. Rest
Visitors are invited to rest and read passages from the U.S. Constitution in a bedroom set up in a public area. Participants will receive Polaroid photos taken of them by the artist, as their actions prompt consideration about whether the Constitution has contemporary relevance beyond that of a bedtime story or a dream.
time: 3 hours
LL/45, 3pm

Alex Braden - Outside and Play
Positioned throughout the parking garage and wearing headphones, several musicians, who have never rehearsed together, will play along to a recording of the artist's composition, which is publicly available for prior download at www.alexanderbraden.com. As the musicians begin to play their parts in isolation, visitors may press “play” on their own digital audio players, then roam through the garage with their headphones on, listening to a dynamic blend of recorded music and live performance. 
time: 15 minutes

LL/7, 3:30pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection. 
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 4pm

Sheldon Scott – Animals + Fire - Victory
This performance explores the acceptance of hollow victories. Based on the large-scale installation, Level With Me, Victory is informed by the cyclical nature of systems of inequality. 
time: 1 hour
LL/AREA D, 4pm

Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 4:30pm

Alex Braden - Outside and Play
Positioned throughout the parking garage and wearing headphones, several musicians, who have never rehearsed together, will play along to a recording of the artist's composition, which is publicly available for prior download at www.alexanderbraden.com. As the musicians begin to play their parts in isolation, visitors may press “play” on their own digital audio players, then roam through the garage with their headphones on, listening to a dynamic blend of recorded music and live performance.
time: 15 minutes

LL/7, 6pm

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5
Paul Shortt - The Legitimate Artist
The artist will carry an enlarged replica of his Master of Fine Arts diploma around the fair as he interacts with attendees. Posing for pictures and declaring his qualifications as a legitimate artist, Shortt enacts a critique of artistic credentialing, thereby calling into question the categories of amateur and professional art. 
time: 7 hours
LL/41, 12pm

Benoit Izard “BIZARD” – Animals + Fire - KISSERS
Two anonymous nude persons are sealed in a kissing position by a double head mask. Kissing and hugging continuously for one hour, the performers reduce their action to nothing but a presence, which manifests between them and their viewers.
time: 1.5hrs
POOL DECK/AREA D, 12:15pm

Kirsty Little – Overload
This trapeze-inspired performance aims to capture the feeling of a modern phenomenon, thecultural fascination of wanting it all and the rush to the top of what may seem to be a precarious ladder. Amid too much information, too much expectation, and too little time, the artist asks if we ever get to the end of our to-do list and considers whether this is what we really desire.
time: 15 minutes
POOL DECK/28, 1:30pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection. 
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 2pm

Borjana Ventzislavova - 15 Min. Rest
Visitors are invited to rest and read passages from the U.S. Constitution in a bedroom set up in a public area. Participants will receive Polaroid photos taken of them by the artist, as their actions prompt consideration about whether the Constitution has contemporary relevance beyond that of a bedtime story or a dream.
time: 3 hours
LL/45, 3pm

Holly Bass – Revival
This performance brings together folks from all walks of life in a shared celebration of community and rejuvenation. Borrowing elements of early church traditions, Revival will include live music, collective singing and spoken word as well as personal "art testimonies" by guest artists and community members.
time: 1 hour 15 minutes
POOL DECK/4, 3:30pm

Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 4:30pm

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7 
Monica Jahan Bose - Unwrapped
The artist will wrap and unwrap her body with a 216-foot sari inscribed with writing by women from her grandmother’s village in Bangladesh. Drawing inspiration from the Indian myth of Draupadi, the eternal virgin who was married to five brothers, as well as her grandmother’s factual marriage at age seven, the artist’s performance speaks to the rights of women for education and autonomy over their own bodies. 
time: 1 hour
ROOM 1/25, 12:30pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection. 
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 2pm

Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 2pm

Holly Bass – Revival
This performance brings together folks from all walks of life in a shared celebration of community and rejuvenation. Borrowing elements of early church traditions, Revival will include live music, collective singing and spoken word as well as personal "art testimonies" by guest artists and community members.
time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Pool Deck/4, 2:30pm

Armando Lopez Bircann – Animals + Fire - ARLOBI - Emerge 2013 Mix
The artist will present a collection of multimedia, ceremonial performances. These works play with the formats of performance, the ritualization of self-portraiture, and the activation of performative sculptures.
time: 2 hours
LL/AREA D, 3pm

Image Credit: (e)merge art fair