Philip Fryer - ACCUMULATION 2 @ 808 Gallery 2/7

<br>7PM-8PM February 7, 2014


            Philip Fryer is the second artist featured in the ACCUMULATION 2 series and he actually participated in the first series as well. My role was a bit different this time around; I would be documenting. I borrowed a friend’s camera and I came early to assist Fryer in case he needed any extra hands. It was interesting to see another performance artist who was nervous or anxious about performing. Fryer is an interdisciplinary artist who seems to work a lot with circuit bending and technology. I also know he’s collaborated quite a bit with Sandrine Schaefer and he is also the cofounder of the Present Tense, a performance collective and database for performance archival.

            His materials included various pieces of cloth, one piece of cloth that had pulsating lights, a mini-mic, a mini-mic stand, an old amp, a metal chair, a photograph, a flatscreen monitor, another mic stand, a modified kids’ musical toy, and a T shirt from the first ACCUMULATION.  During this time, he had a recording playing what I perceived as white or ambient noise. He began his process by doing laps around the gallery space several times. At about 7PM, he began by grabbing a ladder and some of the hand post-it notes from Scheafer’s performance. He set up the ladder facing Commonwealth Ave. and began to separate individual hand papers. This happened for about ten minutes and I really enjoyed watching people on the street and their reactions. He climbed down and leaned the ladder on the wall. Fryer had placed a cloth with small lights near this area, draped it over his head, and tied belt around to hold it in place. This was a very interesting image that felt surreal and primal. One of the lights blinked red while the other two were bluish white. He did this several times until he arrived at the pile of things he brought.



Fryer changed the sound and began to sift through the cloth, strewning them in a 10 ft. radius. At another point, he found a 7” record, which he used to fan himself until he was red in the face. He took the mini-mic and began to scrape it over the record making pleasantly scratchy noises. He uncovered the screen that was black and had a long wire. He held it closer to his stomach and began to twist himself and cord around his legs. I believe he did about ten revolutions until picking up the photograph and held it over the black screen. I took a lot of pictures and I felt guilty for having a camera with a loud shutter that was definitely distracting. I also later realized most of the images I took were blurry. I should probably revisit my photography class. Because I was documenting, I have a difficult recalling the order of Fryer’s minute actions.  

            Towards the end of the performance, Fryer adjusted the mic and mic stand. He made eye contact with everyone in the room going clockwise. He then stated into the mic, “why don’t I have a job?” I felt embarrassed and bad for him and wanted to hug him and tell him it was okay. I had a lot of empathy for him. The performance ended with him recording himself on his phone of his performance, materials, and process. I felt the anxiety in the room lifted once the performance was over. He had a lot of friends and audience members there to support him. His performance was pretty unique to me and actually reminded me a lot about Fluxus actions.  However, I know these actions weren’t nonsensical and held personal meaning. I’d like to see him do future performances. I’d like to personally utilize more technology in my performances.