You may have seen signs around campus lately that say, “birthing experiments (be).” This art project started with senior Kelly Shaw Willman, a self-designed performance art major who puts on a performance once each term.This term, she created her first performance series, called “birthing experiments.” Each time the performance is shown, a little more is added to the story. “Each performance is a process, like the birthing experience,” said Willman. As for the “(be),” Willman explained, it stands for “just be.”
Willman is not the only person involved in this performance, however. Sara Wexler, who is also involved in different art forms, is co-collaborating with Willman on this project.
Willman commented on Wexler’s role as a collaborator in “birthing experiments,” by linking it to the project itself. “Think also of the numbers involved in birthing: two people to make a baby. One parent and one child total two; hence, two collaborators.”
So far this term, there have been three performances, which contained Zen and Buddhist concepts. Willman and Wexler meditate in order to reach the audience. If they are relaxed, then their audience will find the performance relaxing.
They also feel that offering something to the audience is important. In the last performance, Wexler went up to an audience member and gave him a rose. Willman said, “The rose represents birth and rebirth. It is also something beautiful that comes from something not as beautiful: a rose grows best in dung and fertilizer, and grows into something beautiful.”
The performances will go on until December 3, ending with a longer performance to sum up what has happened in other performances until that point. “This project is about unfolding. It is about process, it is about birthing,” said Willman.
Until then, each performance will be held at Union Hill, no matter the weather. Willman views the weather as an active contributor to each performance, and believes in using it to the performance’s advantage instead of worrying about a disruption.
The next performance will be on Monday, Oct. 22, at 3:30 p.m. Until then, we should all take the advice of Willman and “just be.