untitled (Party Box, after Rirkrit Tiravanija)
“Sociability is the art or play form of association, related to the content and purposes of association in the same way that art is related to reality. [. . .] While it is a departure from reality, there is no deceit in it unless one of the persons involved tries to exploit it.” — Georg Simmelh and Everett C. Hughes, The Sociology of Sociability, 1949.
I am very taken with the idea of sociability that Rirkrit Tiravanija often addresses (and creates) in his work. An atmosphere of sociability is one in which interactions are made possible between people, particularly in a way that feels friendly and inviting, rather than coercive or fearful.
At the same time, I am also extremely fascinated by Tiravanija’s statement that art can be “the potentiality to not do”: by design and choice, not by accident. (Or at least that’s my interpretation.) Nothing needs to happen. Something will happen, but the art itself is not the happening, merely the shell that contains or inspires it. After an evening inspired by Allan Kaprow, for whom the act of happening was nuanced and scored, an evening of Tiravanija might just look like a party. Or not even a party. Maybe just the arrival of box of supplies for a party, and then whatever follows from opening the box. To call that result a party might be too rigid. It could be anything, and that would be okay. As long as it’s sociable.
Keep in mind that in many ways the space, and not just its contents, pave the way for the potential of different interactions. Try to use an inhabited space where other found elements can set the stage and incidentally be worked in, rather than a blank, empty white box space. The party lasts for the duration of the mix CD.
I do think of this piece as a performance, but it’s one to be deployed without any particular performer as its focus. The box (plus participants) will allow any space to perform as a party.