Performance Art Festival at the SLC Public Library

The following is a preview of Emma Wilson’s experience at the Performance Art Festival, hosted annually by the Salt Lake City Public Library at its Main branch downtown. Emma’s thoughts on other performances at the festival are forthcoming.

Before I entered the SHARE space, a small storefront in the Urban Room of the Salt Lake City Main Library, I peeked at the smartphone taped to the glass doors. Both phone and doors revealed Grafting by Kristina Lenzi and Eugene Tachinni, the two wearing matching maroon outfits and sitting side by side, just as the festival program said they would be. However, there was another aspect to this two-hour long vigil between two people: a woman, Sasha K -- identified by her business card on a shelf behind the three -- was styling Eugene’s and Kristina’s long hair elaborately, silently curling and smoothing it with precision: an art in itself.   

The live phone footage created a kaleidoscopic effect wherein one could choose to look at the artists framed in the phone or at the artists framed by people watching them, framed by the glass, framed by people watching from outside the glass, framed by frames to infinity. The piece invited me to zoom in or out, each aperture revealing a valid view of this performance that, like all performance art, is dependent on audience as witness. Upon further zoom inside the room I realized another possible reason for the phone footage was perhaps to simulate the intimate view of the work without being subjected to the smell of hairspray. Eventually, Sasha braided Kristina’s and Eugene’s hair together, and left them grafted for the remaining hour or so; two tree-people continuing their growth together.

Stay tuned for more.

Emma Wilson received her BFA in Modern Dance at the University of Utah and has since been making solo works, choreographing for Deseret Experimental Opera (DEXO), and working as the Salt Lake City Library’s Community Garden Coordinator.