Lecture? Book It Here

 

WhatIsWhat 1.0 2003

non-verbal street performance art

I recently Performed in Torino Italy. I was performing primarily for pedestrians, tourists and local people who happened to pass me by. My Italian language skills being next to nothing forced me to stick to entirely non-verbal means.

photo:Andrea Macchia 2011

ABOVE: With the right angle and framing a George Romero horror narrative emerges from a lighthearted moment of creative improvisation with the environment and random people. Chance is my guide and light my primary subject. It always has been. Photo by Andrea Macchia

 

 

 

photo:Andrea Macchia 2011

ABOVE: Part of the comedy is to over express safety margins and risk. Here I am stopping traffic for a pedestrian that was never really under threat of being run over. Directing traffic and pedestrians around the square whistling and gesturing was a big part of my presence along with a musical dancing skateboard flow and long form traveling glides. Somebody travel back through time and please pull up my pants! Photo by Andrea Macchia

photo:Andrea Macchia 2011

ABOVE: Here I am getting a tow on my board by grabbing the bike seat post of a random biker. I did not ask I just grabbed. Bikers often evaded me. There was comedy gold in a couple of those moments when bikers got away. Photo by Andrea Macchia

The thing about non-verbal is that things have to be more iconic to eliminate confusion.  I definitely learned a lot about comedic timing without the crutch of spoken language. While in Torino, I also skated around the city and captured some images of the street performers and buskers there.

BILL SHANNON Photography

ABOVE: This Torino busker represented an icon of purity and frailty and tresspassed beyond standard interactions with pedestrians by insisting on his role. Here he walks with a young mother, hand on her shoulder proudly as her partner looks on and laughs. Its not often a man dressed as a holy woman with his face painted white puts his hand on your wifes shoulder as she walks your sleeping child down the street.

BILL SHANNON Photography

ABOVE: Here he confronts my camera and blows a kiss. I pay him a couple of euro for the ( out of focus ) images I took.

BILL SHANNON Photography

ABOVE: This Torino busker has an annoyance act. People actually pay him to go away because his violin skills are so horrible. Hilarious. I watched him play and it truly was torture. I paid him after taking his image. Its only the right thing to do. I gave two Euros and he called me cheap according to my hosts who could understand him. Note that he does not even bother to fully string his instrument.

BILL SHANNON Photography

ABOVE: This last image is of a juggler on the street. He was a student at the local circus school. There were several that I saw at random intersections in the city. It set a certain mood and I saw them as a metaphor. The student jugglers were drones whittling away at the sisyphus task of quantitative escalation which at some distant point might possibly flower into a qualitative shift from juggling by the numbers to juggling as an expression of themselves. I never have studied an art technique even as I attended art school it was for the free financial ride - not- to learn art from a professor. The truth is I am completely self-taught. Arrogance being my worst crime and my greatest liberator I now see has led me to a crossroads much like that which I see in the jugglers. I can continue whittling away at the concepts that fit in my hands or drop them all and take on the transcendent moment whose medium has yet to make itself apparent. Once I go there. I cannot go back. I am still waiting for some signal. Its like fishing in a way. Waiting. Throwing back little guys. switching baits. ... waiting...

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This Work, non-verbal street performance art, by Bill Shannon is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA license.