Tonight I met with George Afedzi Hughes and four other students from Lyle’s class an hour before the performance Shrines and Masquerade was scheduled, to discuss what was expected of us, and also to be handed our props. Each participant was given a mask, black rubber gloves, and a black hat. 3 of the masks were blue and two were gold. I was given a gold mask because part of my job during the performance was to be responsible for a remote control car. The car and the controller were both painted gold, and my mask matched accordingly. We wore all black (my shirt featuring cut-out shoulders). Its great to now look at the documented photos, to see myself, recognizable by the shoulders only, looking so foreign with a golden face. It was completely invigorating though to respond to the audience as well as the amazing energy put forth by George. He is really quite an amazing person and performer.

The work made reference, to nature, natural destruction, war, and death. George was not only the mastermind, but the martyr. He flailed, danced, and growled with his body as we followed his lead and gyrated, swarmed, and dispersed at will. I found myself avoiding making eye contact with the crowd for the most part, but when gathering inspiration from my classmates, glanced out several times during a mime sequence, using our bodies to have proposed or possible dialogue with one another.

Both myself and another woman controlled the RC vehicles, George squirted & “fired” paint while the sounds of machine guns and war played in the background. Sequentially he then rolled the paint into the surface which was further spread by the moving toy trucks. The golden tub he originally carried out, was placed on the floor. Climbing into it, he allowed himself to be martyr or victim of his own agenda. Two of the other participants, blue masks glaring proceeded to pour slip over his glistening body. The slip acted as an embalming emblem and he was then wrapped in a white dressing. While this was going on, we stood, watched, and well, performed.

The entire performance took 15 minutes and while I initially felt nervous (cured by a little wine) the time flew and I remained, energized and enlightened. Hidden by a mask but revealed by movement in a moment.

Thank you to George for inviting myself and fellow N.Y.U. students to participate in his vision, thank you to Amelia M. Saul for taking photos while we performed and thank you to Lyle Ashton Harris, for encouraging us to allow the art that is inside to find its way out.