In 1968, artists Peter Weibel and Valie Export did a performance in Vienna where Weibel got down on all fours and was walked around the city by his partner, rope attached to collar in a work called the Portfolio of Doggishness. This act is still stunning in its ability to ride between positions of humiliation, power and a perverse sense of being the proud owner. Katz’s project takes as part of its focus the viewer’s response to seeing someone well dressed lying on the street. As the project progressed, she also dressed or acted as a homeless person as well, between 2005-2006, Marie Christine Katz staged a performance at various locations throughout New York City during one morning in each of the four seasons during a one-year period. Her clothing was varied from her own casual wardrobe to those of a well-dressed woman to those of a homeless person. Hiding in a car, a cameraperson filmed these scenes, including the people’s reactions to the artist lying on the sidewalk. The pedestrian responses were recorded with a hidden microphone tucked into Katz’s outfits. After the first performance, Katz spoke to the local precinct to notify the police of her project to dissuade any concern or unnecessary police visits. However, the police were obligated to respond to all 911 calls and still came by to see if she was ok. In the role of a homeless person, few passersby spared a look. There was no verbal interaction with Katz in the role of a homeless person. The work exists as a video performance and a series of photographs and took place from Wall Street to Harlem.
New York photos projected at DUMBO Art Festival