Brian Lobel creates performances about bodies: politicised bodies, marginalised bodies, dancing and singing bodies, happy bodies, sick bodies and bodies that need a little extra love. After being sick as a young adult, he became fascinated with unique bodily experience and how it is conceived, discussed and witnessed by others, leading him directly into his current performance practice. While the work takes many different forms — installation, stage shows, cabaret, interactive performance and publications — each project is keenly interested in how the audience relate both to him as performer and to others. He combines his intimate stories with grander public narratives (about illness, technology, nationalism, economy, sexuality and more) in an attempt to show that we are all in this together. The work playfully inspires audiences to consider the world around them with renewed vigour, generosity, reflection and an insatiable desire to engage with others.
Purge is an interactive lecture exploring the process of, and fallout from, Purge, in which strangers voted to keep or delete each of Brian’s Facebook friends. Purge examines how we interact with digital media, and where online friendship stops and real friendship begins. When touring, local performers recreate the Purge experiment.
Brian Lobel buys minutes of people's lives for the price of £1 (or local equivalent), burns 60 minutes of individual, minute-long DVDs and resells them to the public for £1. This site-specific installation playfully explores themes of economy, the value of our time and our work, the over-documenting of our lives, and what it means to sign away your soul.
Hold My Hand and We’re Halfway There is an interactive performance installation. It uses four televisions, 12 headsets, a sturdy bed and more than 100 classic musicals to explore issues of isolation, community, secret pleasures and the age-old question: When are you alone and when are you lonely? Hold My Hand links Depression-era dance aarathons, where contestants danced until they dropped in pursuit of fame and fortune, to young boys dancing in their bedroom after school, where they too dance until they dropped, often hoping for fame and fortune.
Brian offers a wide range of workshops related to various aspects of performance, including Camp Live Art (1-3 days, workshop on interactive performance), Let Me Hear Your Body Talk (1 day, workshop about writing from/about the body), Cruising for a Workshop (2 days, workshop on 1-to-1 performance), Carpe Minuta (1 day, workshop on performance intervention).
Brian has also done extensive teaching for medical schools, hospitals and health organisations, particularly in relation to his work BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer. This is available as a standalone talk, or alongside a performacne.
Brian's performance of Purge also can be restaged by a local performer who will spend 1 minute talking through each of her/his facebook friends, and then deleting/keeping them based on public vote. This installation runs 4-25 hours long.
Brian is Senior Lecturer in Theatre at University of Chichester, and also gives a number of paper presentations, keynote talks and performed responses for a wide variety of events. Please see his Cabaret/Event work page for more information about additional one-off, site-specific performances.
“Brian Lobel is many things: he is a prolific maker, creating more new works per annum than most; he is an itinerant artist, moving between staged performances, public interventions, one to one encounters and performance installations with a fluidity that is the envy of many; he is a fearless practitioner, exploring new territories and revealing himself in uncompromising ways; he is an astute and wise thinker and writer, contributing to public discourse and scholarly research in exceptional ways; and he is a generous and enthusiastic collaborator, supporting other artists and colleagues in instrumental ways.”
Lois Keidan, Director, Live Art Development Agency, London
"...a show that is deeply touching in more ways than one."
The Guardian, on An Appreciation
"...a powerful attempt to make permanent artefacts out of a fleeting form of electronic communication."
The Scotsman, on Mourning Glory