Q. How did you start to do performance?
A. In 1970, while teaching at Nova Scotia College of Art, I decided it was necessary to show a particular foundation student an ‘actual’ example of Surrealism. The following day I came to College and ‘performed’ a day’s teaching, AS a piece of Surrealism. At the end of the day I realized this had great potential for the Art of Performance, itself…and so my performance practice developed from there.
My practice was also substantially evolved by spending two years negotiating the koan (problem)… ‘How do you realize your true nature while art-making ?’… given me by a Rinzai Zen Master, to resolve, in the early 1970’s.
Also, though I love the traditional art forms, having been a student of painting, sculpture and printmaking, myself… since graduating from art college in 1968, I’ve always disapproved of how ‘cultural real-estate’ attitudes dominate the traditional art forms, in our exploitative, consumerist (art) world.
In performance art, I really appreciate how there’s no ‘separation’ between the performer, the art being performed, the process of performing… and the public’s direct experience of art being created… all in the same ‘time/space’, together, simultaneously.
Alastair MacLennan made his first (public) performance ‘OF OFF’ in 1970 at Nova Scotia College of Art, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.