Royalty, Servants, and Discourse at MEME Gallery

Documentation of 5 Objects, courtesy of MEME Gallery and Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow

On Saturday night, 5 Objects, a series of performances inspired by a group of objects, introduced Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow to an audience at MEME Gallery in Cambridge, MA. She transformed herself into a masked and nude member of Royalty and allowed her lucky subjects to join her for a picnic. Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow‘s winsome man-servant listened to her whispers, spoke to the commoners for her, and performed the labor her Majesty demanded of him. This presence and absence of the artist was the central focus guiding this performance. Simultaneously demanding attention and yet unapproachable by virtue of her authority, the norms of social power were brought to the forefront. Her ability to host, and your obligation to accept her invitation influenced the entire event.

Next to perform that evening was PrincessDIE, who presented her seven month old son to the audience. Her daily assistance to her son was laid bare through feeding and burping him as the Princess was made auxiliary, a mom-servant to “the demon child sprung forth from her cleft.” She brought the attention back to her son over and over, physically presenting him to each member of the crowd multiple times. DIE submissively focused the crowd on her demon child, forcing an encounter with him to ensure the level of attention demand by her child.

Documentation from the first night of first night at Quai #1, courtesy of MEME Gallery and Bob Raymond

MEME is an ongoing project founded two years ago by six performance art veterans. After their first year of programing, the group was reduced to Dirk Adams, Vela Phelan, and Alice Vogler. Each spent more than ten years organizing performance art events primarily around Boston, spending untold hours negotiating for spaces and permission to host their events. As the economy grew sour, and fewer spaces were willing to donate or lend themselves for an evening, it became inevitable that they would need to self-fund a space. The inauguration of MEME Gallery allows for the lengthy prep work required of intricate multi-day productions and performances.

With 5 Objects barely cleaned out, MEME is now preparing for a three day performance art exchange with Taxi!, a collective based in Montreal. Quai #1 (subtitled Boston/Quebec exchange project in Performance Art) was founded in conversations at 2010’s Transmuted festival in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It might be better titled an interchange, as there are more questions than answers in regards to how these two groups will interact. Quai #1 initiates a series of performances linking their practices that will extend to Quebec in spring 2011. Saturday, Oct 16, at MEME, they will hold a performance laboratory, an open-ended workshop exploring formal and conceptual frames in a public forum as groundwork for further cooperative liaisons.