Is this seat taken? (2018)
Public performance outside Whitney Museum, New York City, USA
We crave connection, but fear rejection. In a fast-paced city where a majority of social interactions take place via technology, the challenge today is how we can better coexist offline. Exploring the potential of public spaces to strengthen connections, the performance seeks to parse out the significance of individual within a community and break down the barrier that inhibits social interaction in everyday life: that of physical distance. The anticipated dis(comfort) that arises from an unfamiliar territory aims to reveal how our social dynamics operate in the public sphere - spurring on participants’ reflections of the complexities and contradictions that accompany notions of desire and intimacy.
The public performance involves the artist providing a service to connect strangers by rearranging the Whitney Chairs outside the Whitney Museum. The gesture invited strangers to sit together, move, break free from their personal headspace and start sharing a conversation with one another. The artist became an active figure of giving prompts and actively sorting different seating arrangements to encourage open human communication.