Chris Shofner

Facing Reality (2008)

Perforance, Video/Audio

"Facing Reality" is a situational/interactive performance in which I attempt to condition and persuade the audience to react in particular ways. Upon entering (during the unseen "Introduction") I work up the crowd for a television broadcast. This allows me to become a manipulator of my audience. The manipulation is based on the compliance gaining technique known as “Foot in the Door.” According to Dr. Robert H. Gass in his book Social Influence and Compliance Gaining, “the tactic involves making a small request first and then making a second larger request.” Studies show that if the person concedes to the first request they are more likely to respond positively to the second, larger request. For instance I begin by asking audience members to change their location, and hold and operate equipment. I then ask them to participate in predetermined behaviors embedded into a video projection. Throughout the duration of the piece the requested behaviors become more absurd. It is interesting to see what people are willing to do and the ease, or difficulty at which they may be inclined to participate.

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