freedomofinformation (2001, 2008, 2009)
On December 31st, 2001, as a response to the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan, choreographer Miguel Gutierrez performed freedom of information, an action conceived of as part performance, part protest and part meditation. The conceit of the action was simple: he moved continuously for 24 hours from midnight to midnight on the last day of the year in his Brooklyn studio while blindfolded and ear-plugged, without eating or leaving or stopping. Spectators were invited to come and go as they pleased. Gutierrez’s intention was to create a contemplative act of solidarity with those who were displaced by the military intervention. It was an attempt to personalize the impact of a remote war. Seven years later, in response to the ongoing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, Gutierrez invited artists across the country to participate in freedom of information 2008. The directives were the same: 24-hour continuous movement improvisation, blindfolded and ear-plugged. Again, the action took place on December 31st, with each artist performing in her or his respective state. Thirty-two artists from thirty-one states participated in this unprecedented, nation-wide event. Several artists streamed live broadcasts of their action onto the Internet. In 2009, Gutierrez performed freedom of information 2009 as part of The Politics of Ecstasy Festival in Berlin, Germany. This was the first time the action occurred within a festival context. Echoing the idea of synchronous action from freedom of information 2008, Gutierrez performed the action in Berlin simultaneously with an artist who performed it in the United States. As a challenging, endurance-based project, freedom of information raises multiple questions about the boundaries of empathy, the meaning of political performance, and what it is to move with one’s own too real, inescapable body, while attempting to move with consideration of distant, imaginary bodies.
For more information about the project and to learn about the participating artists, please visit: http://www.freedomofinformation2008.blogspot.com/
background photo by Ian Douglas