Design + Process
Herewith an excerpt from an interview with Mitchell, in response to the question, "Your recent work is largely performance based. What about this medium appeals to you?":
"Without being too disparaging, I think what I’m doing now and what I did at Stevenson for their RAMP project just barely constitutes performance. I mean, I think performance is an incredible medium, but I was just aping its language and structures to proliferate a bunch of works on a small budget. But the medium’s appeal was basically its ability to highlight the gesture. I think figuring out how to convey that in sculpture was a giant leap and then I started thinking about how it would work in other mediums. Stevenson offered me the RAMP and I had this idea of placing a treadmill on the ramp and running on it for the six weeks I had the space. I thought it was kind of funny because no matter how much effort I exerted I’d never quite enter the gallery, I’d be perpetually stuck just outside the gallery trying to get in.
The logistics of doing the performance bogged me down a bit; what do I wear, how much do I run, how often do I do it, can I enter the space to use the bathroom, will I be very sweaty all the time, etc. So I realised it would be easier, neater and cleaner if this whole thing was an image, if I just had a photograph of me running and a title that conveyed the work. Me talking about the idea was almost enough, and that me ‘faking it’ and having documentation was almost more than enough. So basically I got my good friend Phillipus Johan to follow me around with a camera, and we’d just photograph these weird actions, give them a lofty title, and then present them as documentation of a performance. I didn’t ever do the treadmill work because I spent the budget they gave me on a new bicycle, but they gave me a lot of space and support so I could flesh this idea out a bit."