Museum guards are replaced by performers, much higher in number then what museums usually practice. Taking as a starting point the classical museum rules and interdictions, the performers were reinforcing them and increasing the sensation of discomfort for the spectator and the disciplinary surveillance. During the performance, the guards interacted with the public by increasing the intensity of remarks to spectators , by giving orders that could sound normal but have no real practical utility, and by expanding the physical aspect of surveillance and control. Unnecessary requests such as putting scarfs into the bag or always going clockwise when making the tour of a room, as far as excessive bag control or asking visitors to leave / move/ look at specific work etc. was redundant but arbitrary and random in order to play on the subtile edge of the common sense.
This mise-en-scene puts into center the experience of the viewer, physical, emotional and intellectual, while revealing the most controversy but totally common characteristics of an institution - being opaque (no reasons or explanations are given, “the institution has decided” ), being arbitrary (not treating people equally ), and playing on the hidden agenda. Thus, the project falls within the tradition of the institutional critique but questions more broadly the ambiguities between freedom and control. By deliberately creating to the viewer the feeling of physical sideration or being mentally stuck pushed toits utmost, in the end of the day, the whole situation operates as a means of personal liberation and encourages a critical distance and questioning the notion of a restriction and more generally all power structures.
« Revisiting various legacies and histories of institutional critique, the performance (Le plus objet des objets) addresses museum’s generic codes of conduct and its standard disciplinary rules. Art institutions and their legitimizing function are certainly of concern here, as well as an intention to undermine the assumption that museums offer neutral viewing conditions: museums, as we know, are ideological constructs. Most importantly, however, performativity of the museum’s disciplinary apparatus is explored in this piece. The language of the guards and the movements of the spectators constitute an integral part of museums power-knowledge (Foucault) established through a relationship between saying and seeing ». Elena Sorokina