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Why Wait?
A syllabus by Faith Wilding
This syllabus by Faith Wilding reflects on the artist's interest in the practice of waiting or slowness as a means for social and political disruption. Why Wait? places the body as the main subject to be discussed and explored through assignments supplemented by readings, videos, and sound.


Week 1: Waiting

Read (click on the link to access text):

Waiting (1972)
by Faith Wilding

View (click on the link to view):

Faith Wilding’s performance of Waiting at Womanhouse (1974).

Activity (to be done individually or collectively):

- Respond to the performance documentation in any form (i.e. poetry, rant, analysis, critique, etc.).
- Share with others in some way.



Week 2: Observations on Waiting

View (click on the link to view):

Billie Whitelaw’s performance of Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby monologue (1981)

Activity (to be done individually or collectively):

- Find a place where people are waiting (bus-stop, pharmacy, bank, etc.)
.
- Take notes of what you observe in their body language, expressions, etc.
- Make a drawing of that, or a poem, or ….

*


Week 3: Undoing Waiting

Read (click on the link to access text):

“Undoing Waiting” in Arrested Welcome: Hospitality in Contemporary Art (2020)
by Irina Aristarkhova

Listen (click on the play button to listen):

Faith Wilding’s performance of Waiting With (2007):


Activity (to be done individually or collectively):

- Take a “noticing” walk in your neighborhood and make a note, a drawing, or a snapshot of instances of people waiting, or just “doing nothing.”
- Make sure you ask for permission if you are photographing people up close.

*


Week 4: the Slow-Body Mind

Read (click on the link to access text):

“Manifesta for the Slow-Body Mind” (2014)
by Faith Wilding

Activity (to be done individually or collectively):

- Find a line and wait in it.
- Make a drawing of what it felt like to wait in line.
- Communicate your experience of waiting in line in some way.

*


Week 5: Continue to Wait

Activity (to be done individually or collectively):

- Spend time waiting at a bus stop, trains stop, vaccination place, DMV, etc.
- Write/make art about your experience and share it in some way.

*


Week 6: Rituals of Waiting

Activity (to be done individually or collectively):

- Observe instances of “ritualistic waiting”: airport waiting, church waiting, hospital waiting.
- After observing and taking notes, make a “response” to what you observed, what it felt like (boring, angry, sympathetic, curious, etc.)
- Share your responses in some way.

*


Week 7: Waiting in Times Like These...

Activity (to be done individually or collectively):

- Reflect on the rituals of waiting you have experienced and how they relate to hospitality, community, bonding, waiting for and receiving bad news.
- What have you learned about waiting?
- How can you communicate about this with others?
- Can waiting be an act of solidarity in times like these.