Hello Friends, This is an invitation to participate in a political art project in NYC. Myself and my partner Marina are producing the project and seeking volunteers who want to join in. Please give it a read and feel free to forward generously.
Let me first introduce you to the last political project that we produced (NO BUSH: Nude Shoot <gaiatreehouse.com> ). Like the NO BUSH piece, this next project will try to draw the media for large scale exposure.
The next project is called THE VOMITORIUM (New And Improved American Empire <www.gaiatreehouse.com> ). It will be held in a garden on the Lower East Side of Manhattan between during the month of August as a part of the HOWL Festival (HOWL INDEX <howlfestival.com>), and likely be repeated during the Republican National Convention. There are several ways to volunteer for this project. I hope that you will find one of the roles to be interesting and that'll you join in.
This is a theatrical art piece free and open to all. People will be able to view it live. It will also reach people through media coverage and later this year the video and photographs taken at the event will be on exhibition.
THE VOMITORIUM Comparison of the Roman Empire to the American Empire: The world of the Roman empire in the first two centuries is almost frighteningly similar to ours in its excesses and its wealth, and above all in its devotion to materialistic success at the expense of the spiritual and the intellectual. Yet it retained a hard core of solid, down-to-earth virtues and a prosperous middle-class. It was when that middle-class was squeezed out of existence by high taxes, paternalistic legislation and an ever-increasing bureaucratic control that the abyss between wealth and poverty was, at last, nakedly evident.
What's A VOMITORIUM? The word orgy comes from the Roman practice of having enormous parties, where dinners ranged anywhere from three to ten courses. Guests, reclining in couches, gorged themselves on delicacies until they were stuffed. Once full, they would retreat to the vomitorium to induce vomiting and rejoin the party to continue eating (repeating these steps as many times as was desired). As Seneca commented once about the Romans, ''they vomit so that they may eat and eat so that they may vomit''. One could say that the Romans enjoyed the good life, at least for a while. Yet the two-class system with gross disparity between the very rich and very poor led to the decline and subsequent collapse of the Roman Empire. Similar fate befell other empires during the course of history.
THE VOMITORIUM 2004: Using this as a departure point, we are producing a participation-performance event, a modern-day vomitorium. The project is designed to transport us, the current residents of the American Republic, back to the days of the Roman Empire. This is an effort to draw a parallel between the current state of our nation and history that preceded us, to magnify certain lessons of past in order to remind ourselves where we are and where we may be headed.
Modeled after the opulent parties of Roman Empire, guest-participants will begin the event with a formal dinner party. The room and tables will be lavishly decorated to convey the affluence of those in attendance. Performance artists will serve as table decorations. Entertainers, like jugglers, acrobats and dancers are invited to perform during and after the meal. The walls, as also taken from the surviving artifacts of Roman dining rooms, will be inscribed with pieces of moral advice addressed to the guests. Volunteers performing the role of the poor will grovel outside the event seeking crumbs from the meal.
When properly filled with food, guests will then vomit in a troth akin to those used for pig feed.
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE: Theatrical Roles: * Romans (aka modern americans) will be fed food and fanned by servers while they kick back and relax. When properly stuffed they will vomit in troffs. Dress is black tie and for women dressy. (note: EMTs will be on staff and food served will be based on a research project by Mina Lebitz that will determine the safest foods to vomit). There will also be an after party where all participants will be fed good healthy stuff to get them back on their feet and feeling good. * Servers: will serve the romans going back n forth from the table of food to the Romans. They will fan the Romans and hold back their hair and cater to them while they vomit. Dress is toga/roman style. * Poor People: will beg at the gate occasionally receiving crumbs as offered by the wealthy Romans. Poor people are welcome to carry signs that carry messages of complaint about how they're being treated. * (THIS ROLE IS FULL) Nudes wrapped in cellophane that will serve as table ornaments. If you volunteer for this role the food display will be built on top of your body.
Entertainment Roles: jugglers, fire spinners, contortionists, and like style entertainers string instrument players (violin, viola, cello, stand up bass) to perform classical music during the event
Fine Art Contributors: build roman columns create a large stuffed pig with an apple in it's mouth background paintings signs with philosophical text posted around the garden * signs for outside the fence to explain to on lookers what they're watching
Production Assistance: As a rather large production, there is plenty of behind the scene roles including canvassing restaurants for donations of food, working security etc.. email us for more details.
In summary we hope that this project brings the concept of empire into view. We hope that by showing the gross gluttony of the Roman empire that we can shine a light on the gluttony of today as seen in consumerism, our growing landfills and the damage our consumption causes to other nations. In this piece the wealthy Romans represent the American wealthy (government/industry now one in the same) that currently control our country. By inviting modern Americans to examine their own roles as consumers we hope that every individual will discover a map that takes them from the things they consume to the distribution channels that deliver our goods, to the makers of those goods. From this personal point of the system is exposed helping us to more clearly see the decisions that were made to create the system that has brought us to where we are.
Thanks for checking out THE VOMITORIUM. Please forward this email generously and write to us if you would like to participate. We look forward to working on this project with you!