Saturday, February 28, 2009
txt was a performance by Brian Feldman at the Jack Kerouac house in College Park. The premise of the performance piece was that the audience would text the script to Brian as he performed by reading his iPhone. A small stage was set up in front of the fireplace in the living room and 2 lamps were placed on either side of the stage as foot lights.
The performance felt more like a digital seance rather than a simple reading. All thumbs and index fingers were busy typing as Brian started to read a strange disjointed mix of ideas. His reading was peppered with sexually explicit language that even comedian George Carlin might be embarrassed by. I began to think I was in the room with a mix of lunatics rather than a quaintly bohemian audience. That guy in the back row looked like he was having way to much fun as he typed his entries. He must have been the one who typed over and over that fingers are people.
At one point Brian glanced at a message and turned to look at a picture of Jack Kerouac on the wall behind him. He then recited, "That Jack Kerouac is a hunk, I'd do him". Had a woman in the audience really typed that? Could the guy giggling to himself in the back row have typed that? I found myself laughing uncontrollably at the absurdity of many of the texts being transmitted.
The young couple in the sketch had to share an iPhone. First she would text and then she would hand it off so he could text. My wife, Terry, said than none of her texts had been recited. That caused me to think afterward that perhaps like a seance not everything was as it seemed. Regardless I was certainly entertained.
Post Script: A number of participants informed me that without a doubt all texts were strictly written by audience. Texting seems to unlock inhibitions, it offers a chance to write things that would never be said under normal circumstances. txt was a Mad Lib with an emphasis on Mad.