Habit has been rather all-consuming for our staff as you can tell by our blogging.Â Managing Director Sue Killam weighs in here on her impressions of David Levine’s installation.Â Come anytime Thurs noon – 5, Friday 2-8, Saturday noon- 8 or Sunday noon – 5.
The audience experience at MASS MoCA is one of the many aspects of my role here. Being an audience member affords the opportunity to share a live exchange with the artist and each other.Â And because of the art we present, our audience experience is always changing.Â Sometimes we present a traditional experience, seated in rows, dark, quiet, watching and the other times we make you leave your shoes at the door and take away your chair.Â Â But in my time at MASS MoCA never has the audience experience become such an integrated part of the message as it is with our current presentation of Habit, by David Levine.Â This piece is a one of a kind experience you should catch.
Habit blurs the lines of where performance takes place and how we, the audience view it. It brings front and center how we engage and how we view.Â As a viewer, you decide how much or how little you want to see; how close do you want to get, how long do you want to stare?Â Decisions that are similar to how you view art in a gallery, or how long you look at an accident driving by.Â The audience navigates the space around a house– not just a setâ€”a real house with real plumbing, electricity, windows, walls, doors, a stocked refrigerator, music, video games — a house like any one of us might have lived in or visited.Â Â There are actors and a scriptâ€”real actors, lines and characters, but the stage direction constantly evolves as the actors live their lives right in front of us.Â The script loops for 6-8 hours.Â The actors never leave and live and act right before us blurring the lines so they are indiscernible. Â In response, you, the viewer,Â make choices: The choice to watch the full loop or only a few minutes. The choice to pull back the curtain and get real close or to spy through windows unseen. The choice to watch it live through windows and doors or televised on a large screen.
As a result of this control and choice, Habit forces us to notice our own act of viewing and level of voyeurism.Â Raising questions of audience experience, what is reality and realism, where does performance begin and end?Â I suspect, Habit will linger with you long after youâ€™ve left and pop up the next time you find yourself peering into your neighborâ€™s lit house at night.