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From the Unspoken Between Feet and Head

Marcel Sparmann, 11 June 2015

Marcel Sparmann RP15 photo Jessica Santone

A list of (some) materials in the order in which they appeared (or were noticed)
I.
A soft white pillow, entirely covering a man’s head
Crisp, black, long-sleeved, buttoned shirt
The visible edges of striped boxer briefs
Outstretched legs of the sitting man
Small video camera on a tripod in the back of the room
Two tall stacks of mismatched white or bone colored dinner plates
One small pot of bright cobalt powered ink
5 black umbrellas, hanging open, upside-down, from 5 spots on the ceiling
A jagged, black line of tape on a large white floor
Two drinking glasses, one filled with hazy, dark liquid
Small, round black disk near the drinking glasses
An audience of different people, standing and sitting, lining gray gallery walls
Blue inked finger held vertically in front of a pillow
Plate with a blue cartoon on it, of a unibrow or flying bird, skimming the floor
Blue inked finger touching a plate
Plate with the same blue mark broken on the floor
Dusting of blue building up on a man’s thigh
Notepad in the lap of a woman near me with a sketch of the scene
More blue ink, on a finger touching a plate
The intersection of a plate with the leg of an audience member
A photographer moving around the room
Shuffling bodies in the audience
Blue inked finger touching a plate
Plate sliding to rest against the black tape line
Blue hand touching a plate with one finger
Can of PBR slammed on a plate careening towards the beer drinker’s calf
The sound of nervous laughter rolling softly through the audience
Blue hand touching a plate with one finger
Plate with a blue “3” breaking into many pieces
A floor covered with plates broken and whole
A small sharp knife with a clear protective cover
Handfuls of white and brown feathers drawn out of two holes cut in a pillow
Toes reaching to locate black tape
A man standing on a black line of tape
A floor covered with plates, broken and whole, and small feathers
My neighbor’s bag accidentally shifting onto my shoe
Feet gingerly stepping over broken plates and feathers
The sound of artificial “shutter” audio files on camera phones
An older man kneeling near the wall holding up his cell phone
Semi-deflated pillow on the floor next to the man in the black shirt
Blue surgical mask covering the man’s mouth and nose
Small brown feather stuck to the man’s beard
Calm proposition spoken to the audience
An audience playing the role of a crowd, calling out numbers in bids for the artist’s attention

II.
Tiny purple and yellow gun held by the man, pointed into the front of his striped briefs
The sound of small pops of the tiny gun fired repeatedly
A black shirt shaken against the chest
A pair of boxer briefs on the floor
Rainbow glitter on briefs and the floor
Folded white paper against skin
A paper boat dangling by a string from a penis
A mostly nude man (wearing a string tied to a paper boat) sitting legs outstretched, upright, with a glass of dark liquid by his side
Plate held high in the air by taut triceps
The word “Syria” 
spoken
The man’s gaze meeting eyes of the audience to his right
Shattered plate on the floor behind the man
Fountain of dark liquid spit into the paper boat
A trail of dark liquid along the floor
Plate held high in the air
The word “Eritrea” 
spoken
People looking from the side
The man’s gaze meeting eyes of the audience to his left
Shattered plate on the floor behind the man
Fountain of dark liquid spit into the paper boat
A faint trail of dark liquid along the floor
Plate held high in the air
The word “Somalia” 
spoken
The man’s gaze meeting eyes of the audience to the front
Plate grazing the back of the man’s shaved head before falling to the floor
Fountain of dark liquid spit into a moist paper boat
A faint trail of dark liquid along the floor
Plate held high in the air by taut triceps
The word “Russia” 
spoken
The man’s blue-gray eyes gazing firmly in my direction
Shattered plate on the floor behind the man
Fountain of dark liquid spit into the damp paper boat
A trail of dark liquid along the floor
Plate held in the air
The word “Iraq” 
spoken
The man glancing around at the audience to his left
Chipped plate on the floor behind the man
Fountain of dark liquid spit into the damp paper boat
A trail of dark liquid along the floor
Plate held in the air
The word “Serbia” 
spoken
The man glancing around at the audience to his right
Broken plate on the floor to the man’s side
Fountain of dark liquid spit into the damp paper boat
A trail of dark liquid along the floor
The nude man standing
A wet paper boat tied to a string, discarded on the floor
Two drinking glasses firmly smashed together by hands

III.
An assistant with scissors to cut each of the strings attached to the five umbrellas
Broken glass on the floor
A reel of black magnetic tape held horizontally in the right hand from above the man’s head over the pillow grasped with the left hand
The sound of the man whistling the melody of “Dream a Little Dream of Me”
Five open upside-down umbrellas in corners of the space
Ribbons of black magnetic tape trailing along the floor
The man stretching his chest, ribs visible
The sound of the tape ticking off its reel
People looking quietly from the sides
A door
Blue footprints along a black line, by a pile of magnetic tape coils and some feathers


RP15 photo by Jessica Santone
Jessica Santone is an art historian specializing in histories of contemporary performance. As of fall 2015, she will be Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at California State University East Bay. Her research examines how audiences play key roles in performance events, as conveyed through the documents they produce or circulate.
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