SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Partially constructed Army Street freeway interchange, now complete

Bonnie Sherk, Sitting Still I (October 1970)



In 1970, I was exploring the nature of performance and the diverse environments, created or found, in which it could occur, and what constituted an audience. I found an unusual environment: an area where garbage and water had collected because of the construction of the Army Street Freeway Interchange. In the middle of this garbage area was an overstuffed armchair facing the slow-moving traffic. When I saw this site, I immediately realized that this was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how a seated human figure could transform the environment by simply being there. I went home and changed into an evening gown and came back, waded into the water, and sat in the chair for some time, facing the audience of people in the passing cars. I then took this simple idea of how a seated figure could transform the environment to diverse locales: Mission and Twentieth Streets; Church and Market Streets; the Financial District, both at California and Montgomery and in the Bank of America Plaza […]; the Golden Gate Bridge; and diverse indoor-outdoor cages at the San Francisco Zoo. The Sitting Still Series then culminated in Public Lunch in the Lion House at the San Francisco Zoo. 

(Cavagnaro and Sherk 2012)


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