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Chloë Bass
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant

ARTIST STATEMENT: I am a conceptual artist who seeks to investigate the potential of the everyday as a catalyst for intimacy. I’m captivated by the common denominators of the human experience: the things that people do always. I highlight the seemingly normal as a means of questioning its stability. I am never far from the strange: not the bizarre, but the fascinating estrangement of everyday life. Originally trained as a theater director, I still embrace aspects of Brecht’s idea of alienation: the discomfort that arises from calling attention to structure through naming or pointing. That disconnect appears most clearly for me as a rupture between ourselves, and what we do without thinking. These usually unnoticed acts serve as my primary method of production and inquiry. Now I engage theater’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary form through various aspects of myself. Everything that I create – texts, situations, installations, performances – leads my participants through interconnected layers of considered engagement. In bringing these forms together, it is my desire to build a unified and multivalent world with a variety of entry points: each form serves both as translation and as layering, manifesting a density of inquiry while maintaining a flexibility for new voices and information to change the story. My hope is always that this continued questioning will encourage audiences, over time, to live differently – not in a grand sense, but simply and enduringly.

I have many influences, divided here into rough categories. For rigor, connection, and creep factor: Adrian Piper, Andrea Fraser, Vito Acconci. For use of language: Claudia Rankine, Lucy Lippard. For structure/archiving: Group Material. Additionally, as so much of my work draws from immediate experience of the world, I’m influenced by people I watch on the street, the group behaviors that manifest through internet culture, and signage in public places (even when meant for private eyes). Some elements of my projects always already exist, and it’s just a matter of finding them. I use familiar structures -- bureaucracy, social rituals and games -- to inspire participation and destabilize assumptions. I am full of questions that I answer through shared play. I believe in performance as participation, and installation as scrutiny. If I succeed, I will become the world’s most invisible performance artist: always present, but unseen. Without you, my work is nothing.

Recent projects have asked how what we do shapes who we are (The Bureau of Self-Recognition, 2011 - 2013), or how patterns and routines make a place what it is (The Department of Local Affairs, 2014). My current project, The Book of Everyday Instruction (2015 – 2017), is an eight chapter project exploring one-on-one social interaction. The Book of Everyday Instruction investigates the particular states of flow, play, and conflict that we experience when interacting with only ourselves and one other.


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