human-supported tent—altruists or slaves?
I like the idea of this art project, going on now at Conflux in NYC, where people can hang out in a tent that's kept up with poles that the viewers have to hold themselves. Here's the lofty write up from the artist, on her project, which she named "Hierarchic System for Space Creation":
A viewer gets in a tent where other viewers became participants by being compelled to hold sticks that sustain the tent's fabric. The sticks are too short to create a useful space if simply standing on the floor. It is implied that if a person drops a stick, part of the tent collapses. Viewers become part of a community in an act of conquering and maintaining the structure, the territory, the house…
Power structures are reflected - to hold the stick is equivalent to own an attack/defense tool, a totem or a phallus. On the other hand, to hold the stick is the hard job while others use the space with no effort. The “holders” can be seen as altruistic heroes but they are also the inflated egos in the center of everyone's attention. The “holder” can be seen either as the leader/patriarchal or as the exploited slave.