Functions Enactments

By Artist-in-Residence Zarouhie Abdalian

Sunday, December 13, 2015 • 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15, West Gallery

Included with museum admission.

We tend to associate scores with musical notes and the performance of music. Yet, for decades, a wide range of artists—including Yoko Ono, Sol LeWitt, Trisha Brown, and John Cage—have created text-based scores for performances of all kinds. Depending on the score and its intentions, these instructions may be communicated in written, spoken, or pictographic language. 

Current Exploratorium Artist-in-Residence Zarouhie Abdalian has developed a suite of prose scores entitled Functions that explore the social dimensions of the Exploratorium as a public environment. The scores, presented as a set of cards, have instructions that invite playful interaction among three or more participants. The scores will be performed by Exploratorium visitors over the course of several months, and are expressly designed for anyone to try—no special knowledge or abilities are needed to join in the performance. Abdalian’s Functions encourages us to probe what happens when an individual joins with others to become part of a public. How do individuals negotiate group power dynamics? 

Born in New Orleans and based in Oakland, Zarouhie Abdalian creates artworks that respond to the specific attributes of a particular location or social landscape. Her subtle interventions, almost bordering on the invisible, produce shifts in how we perceive and experience everyday environments.    

Join the artist and Exploratorium staff to experience Functions together. Bring a friend, or come alone and engage with others. Take-home versions of Functions scores will be available during these times.

Abdalian’s work has been exhibited locally by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art. Internationally, her work has been shown at the Berlin Biennale, Shanghai Biennial, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, South African National Gallery, and the Istanbul Biennial.