Slaughterhouse Space performance afternoon heals the killing floor
By Gretchen Giles
One of the most exciting and innovative art experiences of the summer is happening in a former abattoir. The Slaughterhouse Space, located adjacent to the Duchamp Winery, hosts "Remember Me to Someone" on Aug. 29, the third in an annual trilogy of performance art pieces hosted by Duchamp owner Pat Lentz and curated by East Bay artist Jordan Essoe. An action-packed afternoon, this one begins with a presentation by a Kirby Vacuum salesperson.
"It pays homage to the sales pitch as performance," Essoe explains, "and we're essentially also asking Kirby to show us how to clean the slaughterhouse. The whole thing is a purge and revisiting how to clean this space." Accompanying the salesperson, whom Essoe is truly hoping will move an appliance or two, is Headlands Center for the Arts program coordinator Jessica Brier playing cello, making for a remarkable marriage of sounds.
In fact, the entire lineup of participating artists is remarkable. On view at the start of the afternoon are works on paper by "moving painter" Naomi Kremer, a midcareer artist lauded for her kinetic pieces and animation, as well as a one-minute-long piece, My Father Breathing into the Mirror (above) by video artist Neil Goldberg and work by conceptual artist Justin Hoover. Sound artist Laetitia Sonami will provide a solid chunk of sonic speculation to break up the word-heavy afternoon program and Essoe's own mother Kelley Miles—daughter of Hitchcock fave Vera Miles—performs a 35-minute performance art monologue written by Essoe.
"It's an experimental narrative that deals with the embodiment of relationships," Essoe explains. "She plays two different roles of coworkers from one perspective and another. What the co-workers are doing is working on a documentary animated film about a fictional anthropologist who has this broad-reaching theory about human migration."
He laughs. "Naturally," he agrees.
The afternoon ends with a reading by the poet and art critic Bill Berkson, who will read from and discuss his newest collection, Portrait and Dream: Selected Poems 1959–2007.
According to Essoe, the afternoon, as disparate as it is, hangs together heavy with metaphor. "'Remember Me to Someone' is this loose collection of words that I came up with as a reflection of ego, wanting to make a mark, wanting something to be remembered," he says. "There's something sort of poignant in that. Finality is what we're driving at—without putting too fine an emphasis on it."
"Remember Me to Someone" is slated for Saturday, Aug. 29, from 3:30 to 6pm. Slaughterhouse Space, Duchamp Winery, 280 Chiquita Road, Healdsburg. Free. 707.431.1514.
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