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Mike Calway-Fagen

Artist Statement Submitted 2020

During a sketch comedy performance an actor follows a script and is expected to perform in tune, with eventual laughter the outcome. At times, not everything goes as planned. These professionals stumble, break character, and even laugh at their own botched attempt at mastery. They become unstuck, they are neither performer nor audience and aren't laughed at or with. They are something entirely different. When we laugh as Gilda Radnor can't hold it together we experience what collective vulnerability is, how frail the body and mind are, and experience redeeming empathic embarrassment.

The fourth wall splits audience and actor creating codified spaces and performances. Reality really is a membrane and these two seemingly disparate entities spit back and forth, exchanging information, materials, and impacts.

I approach all things with this in mind. How might a sculpture, video, photo, or whatever stumble right along with the viewer, breaths held, eyes open.

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