Was that performance art?

Montréal, 31 January

This week I was in a fine arts class critique, trying to outline the resoning and processes behind a small wire, wax and muslin object I'd made. I wasn't as prepared as I'd have liked, but the piece was more or less the way I'd wanted and I knew where the thought process had started.

It incorporated some references to mathematics and my present best guess at a world view that I expected to generate some discussion, so I wasn't about to be surprised if my classmates started off on a tangent about those. Students of all stripes will probably recognize the tendency of class discussion to veer off into topics inspired by the topic at hand. Those discussions of background material, current events, intent and influences crop up about twelve seconds after class participation starts. They're general education without the credit-counting and official programs.

What actually got discussed right off the bat was my speaking style. Tone of voice, delivery, calming influences (was that a gentle insinuation that I'd make good bedtime listening for insomniacs?)... we got around to a couple of comments about the placement and context of the piece eventually, but the critique of the guy standing beside the art, supposedly a simple guide to the object under discussion, was the main line of discussion.

I found it all rather unsettling. Maybe next time I'll do some performance art and hope for more discussion of the props.