Artscape: "Your Life Is Not My Playground"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Dozens of shivering gawkers huddled outside ROY G BIV Gallery Saturday night to peer inside at tables stocked with a full palette of foods - yellow mac & cheese, purple mashed potatoes, baby blue rice, bright red ketchup - and a mostly garbage-bag-clad team of food fighters ready to fling.

Brandishing a megaphone, Cassandra Troyan scurried across the plastic-covered floor and announced instructions for the fight: Bag up anything you want to protect from the carnage. Once you're in, you're in. Every man for himself.

At 9:05 p.m., Troyan gave the signal, the participants lunged toward the table and food began to fly. By 9:15, the smeared, smelly masses had called it quits, filing into the cold and leaving a trail of destroyed delicacies in their wake.

The puzzling display culminated the opening reception for "Your Life Is Not My Playground," Troyan's month-long series of events at ROY G BIV aimed at subverting perception, encouraging interaction and raising questions about the nature of art.

"There's nothing necessarily innovative about the action itself. Many people have food fights in several different contexts," Troyan explained later. "It allows for this extremely chaotic action to be occurring inside this space that is usually seen as a clean, almost reserved space."

Some might assume a food fight in a gallery would be about leaving behind a messy splatter and calling it art. But there were no canvases on the walls Saturday, just protective plastic.

"There is no object. There is no aftermath," Troyan said. "It's about the food fight. It's not about making a painting from the food fight."

The prospect of "wasting" so much food stirred exactly the sort of thinking Troyan hoped it might.

"Is paint being used significantly or used in an economical way when it's making a painting? Would you argue that that is wasteful because you're not painting a house?" Troyan said.

"I like that it provokes questions about what is art, how do we make art, what is the context in which we can do it?"

"Your Life Is Not My Playground"

When: Through Feb. 27

Where: ROY G BIV Gallery, Short North