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Nonie Chu

first performed on April 20, 2011
Show Gallery, Staten Island, NY
performed four times in 2011


Staten Island, NY


“Dollars de Dada” is the opportunity for audience members to get paid to do a performance. Choose a dollar, do the action written on it and keep it as your payment. The performances turn the table and force one or more of the audience members into action by volunteering to perform spontaneously and determined by chance. So instead of being only an observer, they contribute to the show. Instead of sitting off stage, they become an acknowledged physical active presence. Instead of viewing they are thrown into problem solving and can determine the extent and content of the performance.

Problems for the creator of this performance were getting volunteers. People can be shy and don’t want to be embarrassed so it can be difficult to get performers on the spot. The exception is children who will do it just for the dollar and don’t realize until it is in their hand that they have to actually do something to keep it. Then once there is a performer what will they create? Will it be much too short or go on too long? Performers can suddenly be filled with the anxiety and consciousness of their thinking and physical presence.

The first goal of “Dollars de Dada” is to create performance based on chance. After I mark the dollars with actions, I don’t control who does it, nor what they do. They have no guidelines except to do the action on the dollar bill, and they can proceed in whatever manner that means to them.

Another goal is paying a performer. Too many artists do work for free. If the performer of a “Dollars de Dada” action works for one minute, they are receiving a payment that is part of a $60 per hour rate, good in our present society. The performer sets their rate of payment by how long they take to do the action.

Coming from the Fluxus tradition, these performances blur the lines between performer and audience with a collaborative creative process. They seek to bring to light banal or common ideas or subjects, work with whatever materials are at hand and are brief and simple. The April 20, 2011 “Dollars de Dada” was actions of body parts. One action was “name your bones.” The first performer struggled to remember many of the scientific names of her bones. The next performer who by chance received that same action gave the bones more fanciful names. Other “Dollars de Dada” actions have included talking about the change in your pocket and spontaneous song and poetry creation about body parts.