(2003-2004, Interactive Performance, 45mins, with the collective Mrs. Rao’s Growl)
LAUGH is a durational interactive public performance that attempts to move beyond the confines of language and into the space of psychic seepage. The performance takes the form of the children’s game, HA, where the performers lie on the ground forming a circle with their heads on each other stomachs and proceed to laugh. The performance lasts for an extended period of time (at least 45 minutes), pushing physical and emotional limits, turning laughter turns into tears.
Laughter brings a moment of release. The idea emerged as a response to the absurdity of the Iraq war and a real need to counter depression in the arts/activist communities at that time. It aims to break the doldrums of the everyday routine, to affirm the human spirit and to strengthen our human connections. As we drift across urban spaces, disconnected from those around us, laughter opens the possibility of making connections and experiencing a state of pure emotion collectively, untainted by the rhetoric of violence and prejudice that seem to be pervading our social psyche.
Mrs. Rao’s Growl is a collective of the artists Sheelah Murthy and Anuj Vaidya.
Iraq War Protest, Federal Plaza (Chicago, IL), 2003
Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), 2003
Wedding Reception (Santa Fe, NM), 2004
Reproductive Rights March (Washington DC), 2004
Emma Goldman’s Grave, Waldheim Cemetery (Chicago, IL), 2004
LIPA Gallery (Chicago, IL), 2004