Friday, October 23, 2009

"1st Annual Sustainability..." wrap-up

A week ago tonight was the "1st Annual Black & White Sustainability Mixer & Recognition Ceremony", a performance art piece by Ellen Mueller. I plugged it pretty heavily but leading up to it, I didn't say much about what it was...because I couldn't. Not without spoiling the surprise. Now that it's over, I can tell you that it was a mock corporate awards ceremony where a company (I played CEO Jack Fields) honored itself with an award for coming up with an award, in this case, a giant chocolate fish that was consumed by the honorees. Or as Ellen says, "This piece addresses the fanaticism of individuals and corporations, which we see through the presentation of this redundant and self-serving award. Sustainability is addressed through the nature of the award and the theme of the ceremony, while America is shown through the corporate setting and meritocratic nature of the award. And for added effect, this trophy is also edible, because the evening is intended to be about recognition in the present moment, embodying the fact that sustainability is, after all, a problem we have to face today. Therefore, the honorees are encouraged to truly taste the fruits of their labors for us, and they do so with full force, getting messy along the way, and not stopping until the fish is entirely gone...The emphasis on black and white is representative of humans' natural desire for simplicity and duality, which is in direct conflict with the muddled quality of the broad concepts of Fanaticism, Sustainability, and America. The messiness of the chocolate fish contrasts the crisp black and white theme of the evening." Here are some pictures (all photos by Forrest MacDonald http://www.photostudio40.com):

Pre-show with the trophy. That's Ellen in the black dress.

The trophy in all it's glory. Ellen made that too and shows how it was done here.

Pre-show huddle just before doors opened. It looks like I'm trying to interject something important, doesn't it? In all likelihood, that's probably not the case.

Minglers in black & white mingling. We (actors) were mingling too, engaging people in conversations about "green" issues and sustainability concerns. My character, while not a bad guy in the sense of being a villain, was less committed to those concerns and more focused on the company benefiting from the evening, which gave me a great deal of freedom to improv and be glib. "Because if we don't recognize ourselves for coming up with this award, how are people going to know that we did?". I also told an attendee that my favorite green space in the Tampa Bay area is Tropicana Field because they have a massive lawn that never needs cutting, never needs pesticides. He pointed out, "yeah...because it's plastic". To which I replied, "Right! And what's more sustainable than plastic? That stuff lasts forever!" My character was also obsessed with fishing and it was his idea to make the trophy in the form of a fish. This allowed me to talk about fishing a lot, including telling another attendee that I had once shot a shark and that my life's dream was to catch a killer whale.

Care for some chocolate fish? These were served to guests, without napkins, to create some slight discomfort and messy paws. Eat all you want, there's always more.

The presentation begins.

Dynamic CEO (and natty dresser) Jack Fields addresses the crowd: "It's with great pleasure that I'm standing here today. It's not often a CEO gets to address both his business passion and his personal passion in the same breath...but here I am. Now I'm going to be honest; I love fishing. Love it with all my heart. In fact, if there were no fish, I'd consider implementing a six-day work week. Because there would be no point in having weekends. I bet you're thanking your lucky stars for the fish now! But seriously..."

The crowd enjoying themselves. Door prizes were given out!

The honorees, thrilled with their award.

The honorees begin enjoying their award.

They keep eating...

...and eating...

...and eating...

...and eating...

...and eating...

"My god, are they still eating that thing?"

Yep!

They don't look quite as thrilled now though, do they?

Finally, they're done. As in, they simply can't eat any more. Nobody threw up but Ellen said that would be just fine if they did. Performance art, baby!!

3 comments:

ellenm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ellenm said...

Clark. You're are amazing. Thank you for recounting all those fantastic audience interactions :D

Why, it's Clark! said...

Thanks, Ellen. It's always fun and interesting to work with you.