Free speech: some of us utilize it more than others, babbling faster than the speed of light. While others, meek as mice, prefer to keep our words to the bare minimum. But, Pia Lindman, a New York-based performance and installation artist, has boldly reorganized the way that we think about free speech in her Soapbox Event, granting each participant only one minute to speak.
Lindman received her MFA from Finland’s Academy of Fine arts, and received a second masters degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Over the years, Lindman has experimented with social and public space, challenging social, political and economic issues facing human beings globally. She has explored her interest in human masses, space and architecture through projects such as Three Cities, Rivers, Monuments (2002/2006) and Fascia (2006).
In her Soapbox Event, Lindman uses historical public spaces as venues for her art. She grants each participant a soapbox to stand on and sets her handy dandy timer for one minute. Participants can share just about anything in the time allotted; poetry, stories, monologues, movement sequences or articles. But there’s a catch: participants may form coalitions, stacking their soapboxes to create a higher podium. One minute is added to each coalition’s speaking time for each extra soapbox stacked. Now, this is a woman who understands the meaning of teamwork!
Lindman’s Soapbox Event is about more than getting your chat on. Lindman’s work forces participants to be conscious of one another, to share space, to communicate and listen. Her work is much more than a blab-fest: it challenges those involved to become more aware of their bodies in space, how bodies and voices relate to other bodies, how bodies and voices have the potential to affect the world.
The Soapbox Event is an ongoing project, taking place in public locations throughout New York City. The last event, held at the Federal Hall National Memorial in the Financial District reeled in 41 participants, a great success. Past Soapbox Events have taken place at Cooper Union, Yale School of Art and several other acclaimed venues. To learn more about Pia Lindman’s upcoming events and her fascinating, thought provoking body of work visit the Soapbox Event Blog or check out Pia Lindman’s bio. Learn how to get involved and exercise your right to free speech.
Lauren Nicole Nixon is a junior at The New School concentrating in dance and gender/sexuality studies. Lauren has performed at venues such as the New York City Tap Festival, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Wolf Trap Theater and The Kennedy Center. Lauren has had the pleasure of working and interning with The Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater, Imagination Stage and Round House Theatre. In the future, Lauren hopes to combine her knowledge of the arts and gender studies to be a choreographer, arts critic/historian, writer and performer.