chapter
3 Pages

Dave McKenzie

Perhaps best known for his performances that transform everyday interactions into art, Dave

McKenzie has talked to passersby while sitting on a park bench, gone on dates through a lottery

system, and even danced in a gallery with no music for six hours. His performances illustrate

experimental theater director Richard Schechner’s theory that there are three forms of time: set,

event, and symbolic. In Private Dancer (2007), McKenzie uses a “set” time of six hours to dance

with or without visitors. There is an important element of spontaneity to this piece, as visitors

are invited to participate. McKenzie also welcomes the unknown with the amusing work It’s a

Date (2005), in which visitors to the Savage Gallery in Portland, Oregon, entered their names

into a drawing to have a date with the artist. Here time is marked in terms of “event” time, from

the moment the lottery starts to the end of the date. The duration of this event marks the time

the artist is committed to carrying out the work, yet is framed within the symbolic time of the

date itself-comprising a greeting, a program such as dinner and a movie, conversation, and a

farewell.