Who’s Your Audience?

Upon learning that Mark Broomfield was attending one of our classes, I was excited because of my personal connection to dance. I have been dancing for years now and since being a student at Geneseo  have not had a chance to take one of his classes yet; therefore, I was anxious to see what he would teach us and how it would connect to Steve Prince’s art. We spent this class period moving around which is expected, but something one of my peers brought up inspired me to think about our everyday comfortability. In discussing the stereotypical feminine and masculine dance phrases/poses, Dr. Broomfield challenged us to push  against these stereotypes. In order to accomplish this my group decided that half of us would repeat the same sequence of the stereotyped feminine and masculine moves, and the other half would mirror the same moves but modify them to fit the other gender. The point of this exercise for me meant fighting stereotypes and becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Our class started discussing why we were uncomfortable with performing these dance phrases in front of each other. The most common answer related to the environment/the people who you are surrounded by. Dr. Broomfield then used this discussion as an opportunity to expand on how dance and discomfort relates to stereotypes by mentioning that when it comes to gender stereotypes you can easily be labeled as gay or lesbian when performing something outside of your stereotyped category. For example, identifying as a male and strutting would usually cause people to believe that the male is gay. These are the type of assumptions that cause people to feel uncomfortable or even fear of being themselves in certain environments. This results in people portraying different versions of themselves in different environments which I know I have done plenty of times. Usually when I am around people I  barely know, I am more shy and introverted, however, around my friends I tend to be a little more outgoing. The tendency to change behaviors around different people made me think of Steve Prince’s work in terms of audience.

So far, the artwork I have looked at by Steve Prince is similar to me through its style. His pieces mostly have the light and dark aspect and involve some element of chaos in the sense that there is a portion of the artwork that has various things happening. With this in mind, I wonder if Prince has an audience that he is drawing for or if it matters to him who will see the piece and how they will interpret it. Since I personally do not see differences in his artwork, I also am starting to think about whether I am missing something specific that distinguishes the type of audience he is creating for, if he does so. If his art is not meant to target a specific audience, then what makes him take that risk of creating purely based on his own beliefs and feelings? As a dance captain, when I choose set of dances for performances I think of the audience I am performing for in order to create a set that is best fit. I also think about authors and how when they write their is usually a specific audience targeted which influences the way they write or what they say. Due to these experiences I think I am just forced to think that it is mandatory to keep an audience in mind when creating or displaying any type of public showing. The question that remains is if Prince has the same thought process.


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