Chronophilia / Chronophobia

Script/live performance written and directed by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi; vocal performance by Garrett Allen; audio recorded by Alex Auriema. Private commission.



This piece—the first live performance I've formally directed—began with a poem-cum-script that I wrote blindfolded. It emerged from loose experimentation with surrealist automatic writing, the use and subversion of meditative practice, histories of labor, and critical theories of the attention economy. As a work with many moving parts, it was a challenge that enmeshed in my own desire to circumvent a gallery setting and engage with a public body not initially gathered for the purpose of experiencing art.

Around 80 people wearing handmade blindfolds took part in the first performance in November 2013. The instructions asked of them simultaneously nothing and everything. Do whatever you want with your body, do whatever you want with your thoughts, but be here. 

The blindfolds served a dual purpose in the initial conception: to both negate the fear that participants' faces were being watched for their reaction, and to alight aural and linguistic senses while depriving the visual.

The performance can be recreated by anyone anywhere by either playing the audio track or having the script read aloud while the participant is blindfolded.

Actor Garrett Allen performed vocals, and Alex Auriema recorded a studio audio track.