You’re about to enter an art gallery when the attendant stops you politely. They just have to explain a few things: be aware that there is nudity; no photography in the gallery; and please do not make the performer uncomfortable or you will be removed immediately.
Preliminaries dispensed with, you are allowed to enter and do so to find the room completely bare: the white walls so pristene they look like they’ve not hung so much as a wall calendar; the squeaky clean laminated black floor reflects the ceiling lights like a regiment of vague moons. The gallery curves around to the left, so you can’t see the end of it. Curious and alone, you start walking forward slowly.
You kind of like that there is no art on show, and that the room is empty. You’ve not been in a room this big and empty for a long time, if ever. It makes you feel…it makes you feel important doesn’t it?
You have a light bulb moment: I am the work of art! That’s the point.
You congratulate yourself, feeling like you’ve answered the last crossword clue – but then you doubt yourself because the clue is that ambiguous, any number of words could serve as the answer. Ok, maybe only six or seven. It just seems so obvious, that answer can’t possibly be right.
This conundrum takes you to the other end of the gallery where you find the artist naked, standing and munching on a bag of Monster Munch. He marches forward and says ‘Hi’. You shake his extended hand, definitely not starting at his penis, as he tells you his name (which you already knew) and then starts asking you questions. Questions like:
What’s your name?
How old are you?
Where are you from?
Do you have any family?
Are you in a relationship?
What’s the weather like outside?
What’s your blood pressure like at the moment?
How do you think you will die?
Daddy or chips?
Yes, that’s all that happens. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt in the Barbican gift shop for £39. Don’t bother trying to ask the artist any questions. I tried and he just asked me whether I thought that was important to know whilst munching away on his crisps with a fareaway, bovine stare, before asking me more questions. I found that bit quite rude, actually.