Witness is a performance by interdisciplinary performance artist Allison Wyper for one audience member at a time. In Witness the viewer is configured as an accomplice to the performance event, a ritual in which the tenuous mantle (or blindfold) of power is borrowed, trafficked, and stolen. Within intimate encounters we are challenged to acknowledge our participation in acts of torture, violence and exploitation, and to confront our responsibility for the other. Then, we are charged to act.
The single audience member enters a room equipped with a video camera that projects their image on a TV monitor outside, for others to see. Inside this private space the Witness participates in an interactive performance tailored specifically to them. Throughout this performance the Witness is asked to take action, to sign their name, to record their voice on tape, testifying that they have taken part. They are asked to make a contribution to the score. Upon exiting, they are asked to evaluate their own participation.
Witness has been performed at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); University of California, Los Angeles; California State University, Long Beach; and Viracocha, San Francisco.
Los Angeles based interdisciplinary performance artist Allison Wyper activates the performance space as a site of critical action. Engaging subjects such as violence, torture, and moral accountability, she produces charged encounters between performer and viewer that prompt each to consider the possibility for intimate exchange and critical solidarity. She is an Artistic Associate of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s international performance company La Pocha Nostra, and a collaborator with Hydra Poesis (Australia). Her work has been presented in theaters, festivals, galleries, universities, museums and on the streets of Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, Montreal, Calgary, Perth and Melbourne.