(With Grace Phillips) HD Video, 25min.
REAL PERFORMANCE is a research project on contemporary labour and management pedagogy. It stages the Meisner repetition exercise - an acting technique designed to build authenticity by centering the emotion immediately and spontaneously available in performance - in a contemporary shared office space. In the video, the exercise is pushed beyond its normal time constraints, forcing the two actors beyond the controlled limits of their training. At regular intervals, a series of lines selected from management textbooks are incorporated into the otherwise improvised exercise. In the industry of workplace management, the "emotional capital" paradigm positions empathy as a tool with precise application for streamlined production and increased profit. REAL PERFORMANCE visualizes the distance between two very different visions of empathy: one a method of mechanically extracting value from labor, and the other an excessive and transformative force, nonlinear and revealing, spontaneously available to anyone as resistance to instrumentalization.