Daily routine becomes performance art

15 years ago

By Kathy McCarty  
Staff Writer

    PRESQUE ISLE — Performance art took on a day-to-day feel for Renee Felini, assistant professor of fine arts at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, and her husband, Tim Bair, with an art installation performance piece entitled “Is This the Way Life Should Be?” filling a vacant storefront on Main St.
    Motorists and passersby on Main St. may have noticed something unique happening last week and again this week in one of the downtown storefronts: a wall of calendars — 365 to be exact — and a young man crossing out particular days on each.
    The idea, conceived by Felini, was performed by Bair last week. Felini said the piece reflects a major transition in her and her husband’s lives.
    “For a while now, we have been working toward the goal of loving where we live and what we are doing. Up to this point, Tim’s occupation made it possible for us to move here, keep a roof over our heads and meals on the table, and provide health coverage for both of us,” Felini said. “The job sustained us but tipped the scales heavily to the work side of our work-life balance.”
    Felini said finding a job with UMPI has helped the couple bring balance back to their lives.
    “I have found a job that I love and now Tim is able to come home and work for our goals. We hope the piece will remind us of how far we have come together in the last eight years,” she said.
    The performance piece began on Monday, Dec. 7, with Bair spending his day in the storefront from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. performing the repetitive, mundane task of crossing out the day of Dec. 7 on each calendar hung in rows. By the end of the ‘work day’ on Friday, Dec. 11, all 365 calendars had all the days in the week of Dec. 7-11 crossed out. While Bair is no longer ‘performing’ this week, Felini said the display will remain in the window through Dec. 18.  
    Felini explained that through this performance, Bair is “essentially wishing away moments of his life, as he was at his job of three years.”
    “This piece is really about wishing time away — but just to remind ourselves that’s not where we, as a couple, want to be. We want to enjoy every day,” Felini said.
    She explained that this performance piece wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Greg Hedrich, who donated the space on Main St. for the installation, in a vacant space near the Northeastland Hotel. Amsterdam Printing donated 200 calendars for the piece, and the other 165 were donated by campus and community members.