September 8th 2012 was the night that the US Tennis Open Women’s Finals was to be played, starting around 8 pm. On that night, Matt Freedman and Jude Tallichet projected the television coverage of the match onto the walls in the Flux Factory gallery, and participants played along as the match unfolded. duplicating every serve, return, and drop shot. The court in the gallery was altered to resemble an old court for playing jeu de paume, which is/was the forerunner of modern tennis. It was in such a court in 1789 that the famous “Tennis Court Oath” took place, sparking the French Revolution and the subsequent reign of terror that followed swiftly.
The goal of this performance was to engage with both the spectacle of the contemporary televised sporting event and with tennis’ strange historic connection to revolution. To that end, two live “players” (volunteers from the audience), dressed in a combination of contemporary and 18th century tennis drag, little tennis dresses and puffy white wigs, pantomimed the ongoing “real” game on TV, aided by a referee and various other folks. At the end of the game the loser was “met” with merciless justice; led to a guillotine conveniently located at the foot of the court and decapitated. A fake papier mache head is chopped and mounted on a pike and displayed to the cheering populace, with fake blood. The losers were given tasteful red ribbons to tie around their neck.
This work was exhibited in:
➜Flux Factory, Queens, NY
More Than Super
On Sunday, February 7, 2010 the great American event that is the Super Bowl was contested twice. Super Bowl XLIV was played Miami, Florida in front of a packed stadium and an international television audience of millions. Simultaneously an “improved” version of the game was played in Ridgewood, Queens before a live audience of a few dozen enthusiasts and streamed online to perhaps hundreds more. Artists Matt Freedman and Jude Tallichet produced “More Than Super”, a simultaneous, play-by-play re-staging of the Super Bowl with a small army of collaborators who substituted themselves for all the roles in the spectacle-players, referees, TV producers, half time performers, advertisers, team owners, and fans in the stadium. The duplicate game was staged in the artists’ studio, a defunct synagogue in Queens. Freedman and Tallichet created a miniature football stadium in the old sanctuary; stained glass windows bracketed the end zones and dusty chandeliers illuminated the field. The entire production streamed live as the actual game was played. Freedman and Tallichet played a game identical to the Super Bowl.
The artists used the slivers of time between the broadcast plays in the “real” football game to restage the action that had just taken place. Just two people in Queens did the work of the 90 professional athletes playing the game in Miami. Freedman played all the positions, offensive and defensive, for the NFC champion New Orleans Saints and Tallichet portrayed the entire AFC champion Indianapolis Colts team. Great care was taken to recreate the ambience of the television broadcast as accurately as possible, down to the half time entertainment, but “More Than Super” was a collaboration rather than a competition, more an awkward dance than a sublimated war. The game in the synagogue engaged America’s greatest spectacle and cut it down to size.
More than Super ( Highlights )
Watermelon Punch, The Untold Story, Told
Studio 10, Brooklyn, 2018
With Matt Freedman, Caroline Cox, Tim Spelios, Nora Chellew
Matt Freedman told a drawing story while we created the sound using historic and invented Foley effects. In addition to using percussion and oil stick drawing tools, we embellished the story by performing with the wildly various materials utilized by Foley sound effect artists. Foley artists trace their history back to Jack Foley, an early 20th century Coney Island expat, a sometime stilt walker and semipro baseball player. Flapping gloves and umbrellas sound like flying birds, Coconuts sound like horse hooves. The best way to achieve the sound effect of a head cracking open, it has been argued, is to punch a watermelon.