News Column

Walker's Open Field event will go for record 2 hours of continuous applause

June 23, 2014

By Amy Carlson Gustafson, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.



June 23--There's going to be a lot of hand clapping at the Walker Art Center's Open Field on Thursday, and it won't be in response to a specific performance in the way you might expect. The applause itself is actually the show, and you're invited to clap along.

Starting at 5:30 p.m. writer and artist Dustin Luke Nelson will lead the crowd in two hours of continuous applause and, if all goes well, "Applause" will break the world record of 90 minutes for continuous applause by a group. The public is welcome to lend a hand for any amount of time or just stop by and watch.

"The initial thing we think of is applause is an act of praising someone for something they've given to you," said Nelson, who once lived in the Twin Cities but is now based in New York City. "But people clap for all sorts of reasons. It's this one simple action and it has this one sound and we use it to communicate a lot of different things. It's a very dynamic way of communicating even though it seems almost primitive -- we're just putting our hands together. It can mean an act of support, remembrance, praise -- this simple act can be so many things."

It's up to folks participating in the free "Applause" event to decide what they're applauding, making it the perfect time for taking a moment to think about the things in life that deserve recognition. You can also applaud for the people applauding or for the spectators stopping by to experience the event. You don't even have to applaud at all. If you want a nice self-esteem boost, just stop by and be a recipient of the applause.

"It's whatever you make it," said Nelson, who plans on applauding for the entire 120 minutes. In anticipation for the event, Nelson's been practicing his applauding skills.

"I've done it at home, much to the chagrin of my wife," he laughed. "I'm really interested in long durational work in general. I view it as the endurance is part of that -- it's the emotional challenge of it. What are you applauding for? What are you thinking of that you need to praise?"

"Applause" also gives people a chance to put down their phones and connect with those around them, something Nelson's excited about.

"Maybe we need to contact Guinness (World Records) for a separate record," he joked. "We're going to have a whole bunch of people who won't be checking their email for two whole hours."

Amy Carlson Gustafson can be reached at 651-228-5561. Follow her at twitter.com/amygustafson.

What: "Applause," two hours of unbroken applause

Where: Walker Art Center's Open Field, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday

Info: walkerart.org/openfield

Cost: Free

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(c)2014 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

Visit the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.) at www.twincities.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN)


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