txt Created and Performed by Brian Feldman
Brian Feldman Projects
May 7, 2015
Winter Park Public Library, Winter Park, FL
It’s time to play “Night Library” once again! Time Constrained Performance Artist Brian Feldman is back in town for a whirlwind weekend, and one of his public events is a recap of either his most successful or longest running project. txt has evolved since opening night 2009 at the Kerouac House in College Park: tonight it’s more active, more theatrical and more organic. The gimmick is this: Feldman plays the character “txt” as an audience tweets him anonymously. He reads everything pronounceable and spells out the rest as the audience debates moist yeast and whether the moon landings were faked. It’s a free-form stream of consciousness from the hive mind and ranges from slightly offensive to absurdly funny. Of course, no one sits in the front row for fear of being called on, and off to one side Orlando’s Roaming Sketch and Water Color Artist Thomas Thorspecken does what he does best – captures the event with pen and ink and patience.
The show began late, and the library was nearly ready to close. After some major flusters on Feldman’s part and some help with my general lack of tweeting skill the show began. The library stage was small and intimate and the lighting low enough to allow us to see our screens. A bowl of flowers graced the stage, its price tag hung Minnie Pearl-like from the side. An introduction from Feldman’s sister Adrienne in text-speak opened the show, letters and syllables were intentionally dropped compressing the message like a clunky Lempel-Ziv algorithm. As we flicked snarky comments into the ‘net, Feldman dashed about acting out instructions that were sent to him through secret trilateral channels. Abruptly, an automated message announced the library was closing in “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes!”; Feldman wisely decided not to shout down the electronics. Soon we were trapped, and a stern librarian watched us and her watch until Feldman’s secret time limit ran out. We applauded politely lest we disturb the sanctity of the books.
What was proven? Random thoughts can be funny, anonymity breeds contempt, and Feldman can turn a library community room into an art event where the audience does most of the work. You’ll need to slidle up to the D.C. area to catch this show; it’s now a regular event with solid attendance. And as for the Winter Park Library? It’s still standing, and they really were nice to us. They even gave me a library card, but said I had to bring things back because I lived in Orlando and they didn’t believe we knew how to operate books over there.
For more information on Brian Feldman Projects, please visit http://www.brianfeldman.com/