Sandra Binion | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


A woman irons for 20 minutes while a jazz bassist riffs. Women scrub the floor for 20 minutes to the accompaniment of a string quartet. Make no mistake: Sandra Binion's performance pieces are boring. But, then, so are watching the sunset, gazing at the stars, and listening to the ocean. Like these activities, Binion's work can offer a kind of spiritual solace, as time slows and overlooked trivialities come to seem monumental events. As part of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs' "A World in a Weekend: Gothenburg, Sweden," Swedish-American performance artist Binion will present three languorous, fragile pieces steeped in the mundane. In the 1981 Suite for Bass and Ironing Bored and the 1996 Scrubbing the Floors, she creates neo-Fluxus anti-soap operas, exploring the musicality of household chores the way John Cage explored the musicality of silence. In the more conventional 1998 Duras Piece she reads excerpts from three Marguerite Duras novels to the live strains of French horn and shakuhachi--while a fellow performer (Eponine Cuervo-Moll) sleeps through everything. It's the kind of work that can seep into your consciousness, if you let it; you may find beauty in the simplest of places. Providing the music are Tatsu Aoki, the Revolutionary Ensemble String Quartet, Andrew Voigt (see Critic's Choice in Section Three), and Vincent Chancey. Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 or TTY 312-744-2947. Sunday, April 11, 6 PM. Free. --Justin Hayford

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): theater still.

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