The Script System 2 – Art fairs, a script dominated by bills, Art Basel, Switzerland (2014)
Performance by Milo Moiré
Duration 2:34 min
Milo Moiré’s performance The Script System Art Basel was held on the occasion of the world’s most important art fair. The artist took a critical look at the Art Basel’s number-loaded script.
Dressed only in words, she set out from an artist’s studio in Basel to take the tram to the art fair. She had written words like “bra,” “shirt,” “panties,” and “jacket” on the parts of her body normally covered by these pieces of clothing. Moiré had already carried out “The Script System” in a Düsseldorf streetcar in 2013. This time her goal was to test how open the world’s most financially prominent art show is to experimentation. She was going to try and see if they would let her in.
The performance The Script System Art Basel is inspired by the script theory of cognitive psychology. Each of us knows these scripts (eg restaurant script), recurrent, stereotyped action sequences, after which we work every day. Especially early in the morning on the way to work, we work almost automatically, often without awareness of our environment. These everyday blindness I wanted to break through my performance. The Invisible (Invisible or become) make visible distribute such disorders as spores for a liberating thought.But why did Moiré choose the Art Basel?
The performance artist has explained her intentions: “It’s time for the art market to shed at least some of its ever-present event character for the sake of genuine enthusiasm for experimentation. The rigid corset of numbers and hunger for power constricts art. This kind of willingness is precisely what I was testing at the Art Basel. It was an attempt to find an opening, specifically one for a vibrant exchange between artistic freedom and an institution for elite commerce. What is important to me is a fruitful dialogue between the societal and the commercial added value of art. Even something like the Art Basel needs the distinctive nature of art, namely, its playfulness and passionate authenticity. Without this quality, even the most renowned art fair is only selling illusions. The freedom characteristic of art has nothing to do with anything that can be calculated.”
That is why Milo Moiré went out in pursuit of a dialogue with the fair. Surrounded by members of the press and wearing only words, she was finally standing in the line in front of the doors leading into the Art Basel. A spontaneous moment — would they let her in? A spokesperson from the fair appeared and informed her that she would unfortunately not be allowed to enter. After all, the exhibitors had been selected by means of a lengthy process and had paid a large amount of money for their stands.
Not just the reactions of the passengers in the tram but also that of the Art Basel vividly demonstrate that deeply anchored scripts cannot be shaken off. Instead, the Art Basel reinforced its hermetic structures. The script theory was confirmed: Whether individuals or institutions, no one wants to have their automated normalcy called into question.