‘Watch me eat a mandarin’ brings performance art vibes to King George Square

Performance art, or just an epic way to celebrate turning 21? That’s the question on everyone’s mind after tonight’s event by Jessica Gurr, ‘Watch me eat a mandarin’.

Published some months ago as a public event on Facebook, Gurr announced that she would indulge in the well-known small rounded citrus as part of her birthday celebrations. Not only would she eat the fruit, but she would do so with a crowd of onlookers and fellow mandarin enthusiasts.

The Facebook event garnered much attention with 2.2k interested and over 300 confirmed attendees. To make the event accessible to those out of town or out of state on the day of the event, Gurr teased that a live stream would take place on Instagram, on the page of @blessican0.

Then, at 6 pm on May 22nd, at Brisbane’s iconic King George Square, Gurr consumed the mandarin following a countdown from 60+ onlookers. The short-lived experience was followed by the traditional Happy Birthday – Mandarin Girllll – accompanied by cheers and claps from the live crowd.

Similarly, viewers on Instagram, numbering over 70, sent hearts and thumbs up, comments of support, fruit appreciation, and Happy Birthday wishes to the young entrepreneur.

So the question remains: simple birthday celebration or performance art? And what is performance art if it is not eating a mandarin in front of a hundred odd people?

Performance art is an experience, artwork or exhibition involving actions performed by the artist or other participants, which may be live or recorded, spontaneous or scripted. It came to the forefront of conversation in the 1970s and remains a significant medium in 21st-century contemporary theatre.

Carolee Schneemann and Marina Abramović pioneered the art form, often pushing the boundaries through their explorations of the body, political themes, and the relationship between the performer and the audience. Their works, like Schneemann’s “Interior Scroll” or Abramović’s “The Artist is Present,” challenged traditional art forms and engaged audiences in new, provocative ways.

Jessica Gurr’s event might seem whimsical, but it aligns with the essence of performance art by turning a mundane act into a spectacle, inviting public participation and blurring the lines between everyday life and artistic expression.

To read more about ‘Watch me eat a mandarin,’ check out the official Facebook event or replay the live stream.

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