The Apology Project, 2009
Maria Legault - Toronto, Canada
For Nuit Blanche 2009, The Apology Project will be staged in its largest scale thus far. A cluster of 55 people wearing large brown paper bags on their bodies will congest a public hallway and personally apologize to every person who ventures through them. The uncanniness of this human blockade will disrupt the regular flow of traffic and provoke reflection about passive aggressive behavior. Who are these people? Why are they here? Why are they wearing brown paper bags over their bodies? There is an enigma about what precisely they are sorry for and why they are choosing to continue doing something that they find reproachable. If it is their awkward presence in the space that they are apologizing for, why do they chose to remain there? Why not just stop an offensive behavior rather than continue to indulge in it and apologize?
In the context of Nuit Blanche, endurance will become a significant component of the work as these people will be standing in brown paper bags and apologizing for 12 hours. Time will become a device that at once tests the physical limits of the performers and also testifies to their will to be obnoxious and continue to maintain a disruptive posture even though they are physically exhausted.
Other than the usual arrogant presumption that what they do constitutes "art" and is terribly, terribly important, I love the way modern performance art art and installations have to spend so much time and effort in telling people just why they are so terribly clever and perceptive.
Why indeed not just stop an offensive behaviour?