Feeling #rank (a clarification)
12 December 2010

One of our participants, Rebecca Goyette, feels that she was treated unfairly at #rank because she feels that she was asked to cut her performance short at #rank.  Jen Dalton asked Rebecca if she felt like she had accomplished her goals and was satisfied with having one full day of wearing a lobster costume and hugging visitors to SEVEN.  Rebecca indicated that was cool with her.  In my previous blog post, I was trying to clarify that Jen and I did not censor her performance, and nobody is able to concretely say who asked Jen to approach Rebecca with the question, and now I will try and layout our correspondence here regarding Rebecca’s proposal, my response to the duration, and it is was made very clear in her proposal that Rebecca said she wouldn’t be wearing a lobster outfit. That said, I expected we might see a lobster claw somewhere, knowing her previous work. We also didn’t stop Rebecca immediately and say “this isn’t what you said you were going to do,” and ask her to change her outfit.  We also did not ask her stay immediately in the vicinity of #rank because we never told her in our correspondence that she had to.  We didn’t know what the boundaries of what a  “winkleman” booth would be, or what #rank would occupy until the dealers hung their shared exhibition space.  There were no booths per se, which makes it hard to clarify the boundaries.  She performed in costume all day Thursday.

I want to say clearly here that I do not believe ANYONE at SEVEN or #rank censored Rebecca’s performance and that any notion that occurred should be attributed to the failure of all parties to speak clearly about their intentions and desires.  Anything that happened is an unfortunate outcome of poor communication.

The below is Rebecca’s project proposal sent for us…I’ve updated this to only include the relevant part about the costume from her project proposal:

“I will wear the same Art-Fair-appropriate designer attire for each of the four days.”

Here are  my exact words to Rebecca regarding the duration of her performance:

“Rebecca,

We might not be able to host the hug station everyday. What day would be your preference?”

Here is a summary of what Rebecca said:

‘Let me think about it’

Here is my exact response:

“Ok, let’s plan for thursday def, its a good day and maybe [emphasis mine] part of fri afternoon when people are getting run down.” I thought people might need a hug towards the end of the day on Friday. I know I did!

Rebecca’s response:

“wicked.”

That is the end of the dialog about duration until Thursday evening when Jen asked Rebecca is she was satisfied with having a full day at #rank, which she told Jen that she was.  I think it’s clear that we told Rebecca that Thursday was definite, and Friday was a possibility.  We also were operating under the good faith that she would be dressed like a ‘professional’ art dealer.  Looking at the correspondence, I think everyone at SEVEN and #rank made allowances for Rebecca and that by wearing the lobster outfit, she achieved ‘collective discomfort’ and subverted everyone’s expectations.  Cheers Rebecca, but this isn’t censorship, and I was wrong to even suggest we were going ‘down that road.’  My apologies to everyone at SEVEN for suggesting that Rebecca was censored when we made allowances for the change in costume from the original proposal, or that we failed to clarify with Rebecca what the boundaries of #rank were within the fair.

WILLIAM POWHIDA
Scroll →