Jeannette Angel, David Kadish, and Julia Prudhomme
Three Sheets to the Wind is an exploration of the tension between simplicity and complexity and the attempt to find a third way that recognizes the importance of nuance and inquiry, but allows for forward motion.
The aesthetic of Three Sheets to the Wind creates a moment of simplicity for the participants. The “jungle gym”-ness of the installation brings the audience to a time of childhood and play that is often remembered nostalgically as “simpler.” That frame is broken when a participant realizes the level of cooperation required to actually enjoy the hammock. The exercise shifts from one of simple pleasures to a trilateral negotiation. “Everyone sit in unison.” “One person wants to leave; let’s all get up.” “Are we all about the same weight? Will the hammocks be balanced?” The complexities of adult life come bubbling to the surface.
The importance of threes is in the way in which the third element causes attention to be divided. In a binary system, participants are able to focus on the singular other. This may allow for an in-depth contemplation of one’s own position relative to the outside, but it does so with a narrow point of view. There is but a single line of sight to the person or thing opposite one’s own position. The third element causes the participant to constantly shift focus. The third element enables an empathetic stance by continually reminding the participant that there are multiple, equally important perspectives.