The Temp Job: A Performance Piece
The Set Up
This is the original documentation of three out of five days spent on a temp assignment in a major corporation wherein I had virtually no work to do whatsoever. After I had done two books of crossword puzzles and attempted to read a few books, which proved difficult to stay with after 8 hours of sitting in one place under fluorescent lights, I began to write down every time I looked at the clock and how much time was left in my day. On Friday, I began writing down some things about what I was doing at the time.
Director and theorist Richard Schechner describes performance as “twice behaved behavior.” What follows here is the “documentation” of the original impetus for this performance—the transcription of my time logs from my temp job. These logs can serve as the basis for a performance, reading, etc. as well as serving as the blueprint or instructions for a newly generated piece.
As Andy Warhol once said, "we figured out how much we thought the audience could take and went about 10 minutes beyond that. Leave them wanting less was always our motto."
The point, of course, of an installation piece such as this is to highlight the passing, often slow, of time and to emphasize both temporality and space. In this case, it is the confining of space and time into a cubicle and a workday.
In the performance, a desk should be placed in some public place and the performer should go there eight hours a day, preferably for at least a week. Every time the performer looks at the clock he or she will say the time out loud and make some kind of repetitive action. Whenever anyone comes near the performance piece, they will be asked "are you the new temp?" When some smart ass says yes, he or she should be "trained" on how to do the performance and then the original performer can take a break.
I left early today, so starting with 8:00 rather than 8:30.
7:33 Called to check my bank balance
6:26 Took a bathroom break
6:18 Made a phone call
6:08 Distributed mail
5:49 Went to the store to get money and buy a chocolate milk
5:23 Read Skyway News
4:58 Went to the 4th floor to visit old co-workers
4:43 Talked on the phone
4:35 Spilled water on the message book. Copied over 1 page of phone messages
4:01 Did the daily crossword puzzles. Could not finish New York Times Puzzle in the Strib. Finished LA Times Puzzle.
2:53 Talked to Cheryl on the phone
2:48 Called Aramark about the beeping vending machine
2:41 Personal phone call
2:00 Read the Star Tribune Front section
1:02 Hung out with Ryan, former co-worker, in the breakroom. I ate popcorn. He spilled ice on the table and on me.
:39 Copied over my notes from a seminar in December
:21 Had a coughing attack. Had to run to the bathroom. Hacked and spit up a little. Hurt my throat for the rest of the day.
:08 Boss told me to go ahead and leave and thanks for covering this week.