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Felini, Bair present installation performance piece in downtown Presque Isle

Monday, 14 December 2009

Motorists and passersby on Main Street may have noticed something unique happening this week in one of the downtown Presque Isle storefronts: a wall of calendars - 365 to be exact - and a young man crossing out particular days on those calendars.

This art installation performance piece - called Is This the Way Life Should Be? - was conceived by University of Maine at Presque Isle Art Professor Renee Felini and is being performed by her husband Tim Bair.

Felini said that the piece reflects a major transition in her and her husband's lives.

"For awhile now, we have been working towards 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. 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."

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 all the calendars hung up in rows. By the end of the "workday" on Friday, Dec. 11, all 365 calendars will have all the days in the week of Dec. 7-11 crossed out.

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," she said.

Felini 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. Amsterdam Printing donated 200 calendars for the piece, and the other 165 were donated by campus and community members.

While Bair will not be in the performance space after Dec. 11, the installation itself will remain up through Dec. 18. And the work will eventually become part of another art project. Felini said she plans to create a short film based on the installation.