interactive video installation with Mariy Rosen, 2012
Among the central themes in interactive works is always the role of the author, as well as the role of audience and its appreciation of a work of art. In Thank You, Albena Baeva rephrases that theme in a way that reminds us of the philosophical question, often attributed to George Berkeley; “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?”
The installation Thank You consists of a video projection, and a microphone that is placed in front of the projection in such a way as if a major role has been reserved for the audience. An actor appears on screen and encourages the audience in the room to applaud. His performance depends on the applause he gets. The louder and more persistent the applause, the better his performance will be.
Quietly, Baeva has reversed the table and turned the world upside-down: cause has become effect; the artist does not perform until he gets his applause. And in the end, the audience gets as much art as it applauded for.
Thank You deals, above all, with the act of reception of contemporary art by the public. Contemporary art is often difficult to grasp, it demand dedication and commitment in order to be understood and appreciated. This idea is taken to its extreme in Thank You, where the work of art only exists as long as there is an audience to applaud it. The experience of consuming art has become a privilege one has to earn.
performance: Mariy Rosen
camera: Nikola Boshnakov
text: Rene Beekman