For her spring 2012 residency in performance art at the Clocktower Gallery, writer and engineer of unsettling fantasies Alaina Stamatis conducted a series of surreal classes, referred to as "Strife Lessons." By hypnotizing an audience through soothing narration, and pleasurable, repetitive motion, Stamatis guided participants through a themed succession of traumatic experiences. The hope was that when they emerged from her "class," they learned to value their happy lives and were propelled toward greatness. Each event included a collaboration with a musician, who created an appropriate, harrowing soundscape. This performance series was supplemented by self-help broadcasts for Art International Radio and informative, pocket-sized books.
Stamatis's studio presented collections from her own life and of small crafts that she generated throughout her residency. The first to go up was a medley of camouflage displaying its practical use in watching specified, extinct North American birds; the installation was complimented by a radio show in which she supplied tips on how to haplessly search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, the Carolina Parakeet, and more. Videos of past performances (including "Yoga for two," her prenatal yoga class at Clocktower Gallery in summer 2011) were also available for viewing in her space.
This program is part of the Clocktower Gallery's Emerging Artist Residency Program, made possible with the generous support of the Jerome Foundation.