Interview with Wynne Greenwood

May 29, 2009 · Print This Article

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Video still from Libber

Last month I wrote a post about Wynne Greenwood’s latest performance Sister Taking Nap.  Wynne is best known for her performance as the three member band Tracy + the Plastics. Last year she had a solo show at Susanne Vielmetter which consisted of new sculptures and videos. In 2008 Wynne was the recipient of a Genius Award from Seattle’s the Stranger . Wynne was nice enough to answer some of my questions and fill me in on some of her projects.

1) After Tracy + the Plastics were over I had heard that you were doing a new musical venture called libber. I remember hearing that it was like the plastics plus marching bands. What happened to that project? I was seriously stoked when I heard about it.

I did make a short (4 min) performance w/ video and music called LIBBER in summer 2004.  I made and performed this for the LTTR Explosion at Art in General, NYC.  LIBBER was literally a “breakthrough” moment for me.  It was the first, and to date only, time I physically performed through the projection surface.  I cut a hole in the sheet and stood behind the sheet, the video was projected from the front onto the front of the sheet that I was standing behind.  I put my arm through the hole in the sheet to be the arm of the abstracted girl figure.  My real arm became her arm.  And it (my real arm) played a real drum.

The story was that this girl has a drum and she’s walking around the city with her drum.  The drum lets her know that she can never be nostalgic because the drum is always wanting her to hit it again.  And she’s wondering what to do with her life when a marching band walks by and she joins in with them.

At the time I thought I would make this into a band somehow. Not with any video, but with the idea of the abstracted figure, and the idea of an ever-changing make-up of a band, like a marching band.  You graduate, and you’re not in the band anymore, but there’s a new person there who brings new and different or maybe similar things to the instrument/role.  I also wanted to have the music and performance be very drum-based.  But I got weary of using the word “Libber” to be a title for something that was very specific to me and my experience/created experience.  And so I changed my music-making “name” to my name, wynne greenwood.  And that’s where I’m at now.

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Video still from Big Candy

2) Big Candy is probably one of my favorite pieces of yours. Was it a precursor to Sister Taking Nap? From the photos that I saw visually they seemed to be linked.

Yeah, I do think Big Candy and Sister Taking Nap are like memories or ideas from the same body.  Sister Taking Nap was a smooshing together of two different projects I’d been thinking about for a couple years – one was a performance and the other was a series of sculptures.  After I made the Big Candy video, I started thinking about the possibilities of interacting with a sculpture using words and dialogue.  For me, the form of “music video” is like a really relaxed (to the point sometimes of negligent) babysitter.  There’s no consequences, in a way, maybe because there’s no rules.  And I say that while I believe that there are always consequences, though that word is more complicated than its surface.

3) Will there be an audio component released for Sister Taking Nap?
It’s really funny you ask this, because in the middle of performing Sister Taking Nap I thought “oh wow I could have made the audio into a record.”  But I’m not going to do that.

4) I noticed that you often have discussed the notion of reality. What type of realities are you interested in creating with your work?

I’m interested in creating realities that are feminist and queer and self-aware.  That are interdependent in their structure.  Realities that have integrated surfaces and structures.

5) I read an interview for the Stranger that you are a twin.  I was wondering if T+P might be a reaction to or at least influenced by having a close sibling?

All of my work has been influenced by this.