Sam Scharf’s performance at last week’s Soapbox.
In Trust Me, Sam Scharf stood on a lit box (a soapbox?) whispering instructions to blind-folded volunteer audience members one at a time through a single-channel walkie-talkie to earphone receiver. Friday, August 17, 2012. Hillyer Art Space.
The instructions were not aggressive, but the experience of participating was surprisingly disarming. Instructions were like “take eight steps forward” “hold out your right arm and spin slowly” “sit down on the ground” (to which I hesitated in my dress, but obliged) “hold out your hand” (and someone put a cold beer in my hand) “now drink your beer” (and they took it back from me.) In the numbered steps instructions, I flinched several times. There is always artwork on the walls during Soapbox, and I had to remind myself that Sam would not possibly walk me into a painting. I knew he wouldn’t, but I had to remind myself that, to trust him. Someone who participated before me told me that she was instructed to hug someone, and having no idea who it was, she preferred to not find out- she wanted to keep that one-sided anonymous casually intimate experience unknown to her. Emma Jaster, who performed at Blowout in June, was one of the last participants. Her background in dance and movement made her experience entirely different from most of the other participants- and Sam told me later really altered the experience for him. She was so comfortable moving and being directed- it wasn’t just about the subtle awkward gestures that were disorienting for people like me- but shifted to a place where Emma challenged the control that Sam had unequivocally over other participants.
Photos by Paul Shortt
Tagged: #samuelscharf #soapbox #emmajaster
12:25:00 @ 8/21/2012