The world’s most brutal game of friendship maintenance…
For 22 hours (July 7 – 10) in London, UK and 20 hours (September 27 – October 1) in Kuopio, Finland, Brian Lobel spent one minute describing and defending his 1400 Facebook friendships to strangers in a public space. At the end of each minute, three people from the audience voted on who would be KEPT and who would be DELETED. The deleting was real, the pace was maniacal, the results were final.
Purge addresses where online friendship stops and real friendship begins (and if this is a distinction that is possible or important). In 2010, Brian discovered that his deceased ex-boyfriend and best friend, Grant, had deleted him from Friendster (a pre-Facebook networking site), which neither had checked since they stopped dating in 2006. Although they had since re-‘friended‘ in life (both virtually and non-virtually), it was the discovery of this past de-friending (and impossibility to ‘reconnect‘ since Grant’s death), which inspired Brian to create Purge in 2011.
Purge is now presented as a full-length stage show/performance lecture about the process, reactions and responses, with support from Arts Council England. Presented at Summerworks (Toronto, Ontario), Small Projects (Tromso, Norway), Vooruit (Ghent, Belgium) Rose Theatre (Ormskirk), RichMix (London) and Beurrschouwburg (Brussels).
Presented in: London, a MotiRoti WhatCounts? Commission and Kuopio, Finland as part of ANTI Festival of Contemporary Art. In November 2012, the Purge installation was repeated by Belgian performer Isabelle Bats for Creative Media Days. She will finish her installation in Brussels in January 2013.
The email sent to all Facebook friends before Purge is available here.
The email sent to all DELETED friends is available here.
The Artist Statement for Purge is available here.
At ANTI Festival, Kuopio, Purge was awarded KINDEST and MOST IDIOTIC performance by the Children’s Choice Award.