When I think of social structure my mind automatically jumps to social norms. A social structure cannot maintain its structure without rules that must be followed by the individuals participating in this structure. Rather it be a family, group of friends, classroom etc. With this in mind, I choose the social structure of the interactions between groups of friends at a dining table. I believe there is 2 major social norms that must individuals follow when in this situation.
1) No elbows, feet, whole bodies can be on the table. A table is where you have food, placing body parts on it is seen as frankly gross.
2) Unless the topic of today’s discuss is you, you don’t need to become a spectacle and make the conversation all about you.
People are usually unable to break out from these social norms, and do something out of the ordinary. Individuals daydream about how they will break these norms, but don’t actually commit the act.
By taking art history this semester, I was able to broaden my perceptions of art. I now see that art can come in many different forms. Using this, I see the art and beauty in the ability to break out against the social norm. This is art, because it is unusually and rarely seen in our structured society.
Secondly, my project also comments on the fact that a scene can go from standard every day action to art in a spilt second. In a group of 4 and a table, the combination is simple. You have one performer, a stage and an audience. If people choose to breakout from the norm, performance art would be all around us.
To articulate this I made a short 42second film. It centers on a group of friends. When it zooms in on one girl you go into her thoughts; her thoughts of performing ballet on a stage. You than see the protagonist dance on the table as a stage, breaking social norms in the process. At the end we are brought back to the original scene, but instead it is in black – and –white. The girl did not dance on the table in reality, but only in her daydreams. The black – and – white ending is in reference to Pleasantville, because we live in a society that is unknowingly constrained by our social norms.
I also asked around 5 to 6 people if they would ever dance on a table in front of the crowd. I use their quotes and let them float through the screen. The quotes show the Secret Desires of the people on campus.
Question: Would you dance on top of a table in public?
“Yes, I would totally jump on a table and dance for a crowd!”
“Under the right circumstance…quite possibly”
“No, Would You?”