Performing in Public

Art is found everywhere in public spaces. Architecture, with buildings ranging from purely utilitarian to decorated in filigree, and advertisements, boasting stuff to buy, people to hire, vacations and political candidates, are somebody’s art. Other artistic expressions such as graffiti and sculptures are a more obvious form of public art. We walk through cities and towns, taking it all in, sometimes stopping for a moment when something interesting catches our eye.

But these are all sedentary. I’ve noticed, as I wander through the streets of Santiago, that live art brings more people together. It’s only there during the performance, whether it be music, dance, theater or a mixture of a variety of mediums. People gather, stare, wonder, smile, snap photos; all the things they might do with permanent art. Yet performance is unique because one can’t return.

I took some pictures of street performances in Santiago, just before I put my camera away to soak it all in.

A street performer begins crying as part of a performance in Plaza Italia on Oct. 18, 2013 in Santiago, Chile.

A street performer begins crying as part of a performance in Plaza Italia on Oct. 18, 2013 in Santiago, Chile.

Dancers perform at Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 18, 2013.

Dancers perform at Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 18, 2013.

People arrived by bike and on foot to watch a free dance performance at Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 18, 2013.

People arrived by bike and on foot to watch a free dance performance at Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 18, 2013.

There are tons of street performers in Chile that juggle, do acrobatics and spin flags at intersections or on streets for spare change. The performances I photographed above were extended performances that were similar to what someone might see in a theater, which is what made them unique. The artists were performing simply for the sake of art.

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