Balancing Acts – Performance Art by Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley
Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley are a couple of performance artists with extremely well-developed senses of balance. Their three collaborative performances; In Orbit, Stability, and Counterweight Roommate all involve both of them living in constructs of their own creation for days on end. In Orbit is basically a fully-furnished giant hamster wheel with Ward living in the exterior (about 30 feet off the ground) and Alex in the interior (due to his fear of heights). They access the various built-in furniture through carefully coordinated movements, thus, when one wants to go to the bathroom, the other must also do so. Stability, on the other hand, is a 25-foot structure which strongly resembles a see-saw and the artists need to move closer or further away from the fulcrum in order to keep the piece balanced. Counterweight Roommate has both artists living in a vertical ‘dorm’ and strapped to a harness. The only way for them to access any floor is for the other to act as a counterweight and go up or down as need be.
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