Percussive Exhaustion (2023)
Performance, Sound, Livestream, HTML/CSS, 
Interactive Web

Through the appropriation of the imagery of “敲木鱼” (beating the wooden fish), Percussive Exhaustion extends an invitation to the audience to fully indulge in the power of deceleration amidst a world that persistently demands our attention at a rapid pace. In the age of the internet, nearly every facet of our lives is infiltrated by the inclination or urgency to skip ahead / jump forward, seeking a constant influx of stimuli for our brains.

In the absence of the luxury of ‘fast forward’, there appears to be a waning ability and patience among individuals to fully engage with what lies directly before them. Utilizing everyday objects and a rhythmic percussion as a reminder of the passage of time, the performer unveils the disquieting reality of our rapidly diminishing attention spans. Simultaneously, the performance also introduces an atmosphere of ritual and mindfulness. 

In the live performance, a symphony of twelve groups of daily objects such as laundry detergent, cell phone, and food, serves as a metaphor for distractions. These objects are strategically arranged in a full circle, each wrapped by a piece of aluminum foil. At the epicenter sits the performer with a hammer, engaging in repetitive and almost mechanical striking of her surroundings. The pace is dictated by an emotionless voice in the background, adhering to a spectrum of speeds ranging from the fastest three times to near zero. 

The show spans over precisely 30 minutes, equally divided into twelve parts of two and a half minutes each. The sound cues prompt the performer to transition between objects, adjusting the percussion speed incrementally. As the performance reaches its calculated endpoint, the performer completes a full circle, returning to the starting point. A progress bar, featuring the twelve objects in a sequence and the current percussion speed, offers a visual guide to the unfolding temporal landscape. 

Here, the performer endeavors to momentarily ‘grab’ and ‘trap’ the audience’s attention through the  continuous percussion. The recurring motif of aluminum foil symbolizes resistance against the outer world that persistently propels us to match with its swift pace. Those entering the livestream performance space are compelled to witness the mechanical banging movements, delivered by the performer towards the objects encircling her.

NYU ITP Spring Show 2023 Documentation
370 Jay St, Brooklyn, New York

Timelapse documentation of audience-interaction during the ITP Spring show 2023
Web experience for Percussive Exhaustion (html/css)