Chelsea Coon: i don’t know if i could do that but i can see how it would be great performance art

15 second excerpt of 30 minute performance. Chelsea Coon, I don’t know if I could do that, but I can see how it would be great performance art (2021), Performance for video. Digital. Black and white. Sound. 2:07. Courtesy of the artist. Filmed in the artist’s home studio during Covid-19 lockdown.

The following prompt (in bold) was input into OpenAI’s GPT-3 Beta Playground using the Davinci model. The text in italics was the output for the prompt completed by GPT-3.

Instructions for a Performance Artwork:
1) Run out of room, run out of breath, run out of energy.
2) Stop and die in the middle of the room.
3) When someone finds you, do not move.
4) When someone finally does find you, stand up and walk around the room.
5) Act like nothing happened.
6) Repeat.
I don't know if I could do that, but I can see how it would be great performance art.


Production Date: March 01, 2021. Performed by: Chelsea Coon

Initial Response / Development Notes:

I again felt confusion and tension over the instructions that were provided. It felt as though this was another example that the GPT-3 generated responses for the performance compositions were not factoring in the reality of a body, and the limitations that real bodies have. It moved my conceptualization of realizing this work into a realm where I considered the deaths to be minute, repetitious, and symbolically occurring through gestures that resulted in duress and fatigue rather than physically pushing myself to a more physical death. The idea of continuing on after “dying” as if nothing had happened, does have potent consistency with expectations of the body in this world, as I have directly experienced it.

It was interesting how much “work” I had to perform around the instructions to deliver this performance. In order to use this GPT-3 prompt I had to considerably shift the instructions from a literal interpretation into metaphorical, poetic interpretations of which I developed the framework and gestures of this performance.


I wore white out “zombie eyes” contact lenses and in a kneeling position I “ran” as instructed until I was “out of room, out of breath, out of energy.” Confined within the space of a glass walled shower, my movement accelerated as I introduced exaggerated gestures of circular hand movement and running motions with my arms. Over time my movements increased in momentum and affected my breath. My vision was severely compromised, so I had to feel my way through the gestures without being able to see my body movements. I continued on until a point where I ran out of breath, hit my skull against the wall, and “died” over and over again. 

This performance was  30 minutes and altered in post-production with duration acceleration, which resultantly distilled the performance video to a brief glimpse into the work.

Please follow and like us:
Posted in <a href="" rel="category tag">Embodying the Algorithm</a>, <a href="" rel="category tag">Performances</a>