Michael Smith

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Michael Smith
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Michael Smith says
Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, 8pm

Michael Smith will perform on Friday night and screen his videos the following evening.

Since the 1970s, Michael Smith has nurtured two alter egos: “Baby Ikki” and “Mike.” In “Threshold,” his performance at Yale Union, Smith brings the baby and Mike together in a loop: Mike feeds into Ikki and Ikki feeds into Mike, going from one character to the next, like a life cycle.

Baby Ikki was born in 1975. “The baby was a reaction to a lot of feminist activity and discussion about gender at the time. I started thinking about what it would be like to have a character without gender, and I thought of an infant.” Since then, the baby has appeared on the street, in fetish videos, at birthday parties, and at Burning Man. In spite of all that time, Ikki is much the same, a feral baby whose precipitous infancy drags against Smith’s increasing age and stoop.

“Mike” is a single white male. An American. A bachelor with no dependents. Hapless but lovable, Mike believes in self-improvement, though isn’t sure how to proceed prudently. Still, he has high entrepreneurial hopes, and when they bust, he finds solace in pertness, in trying to be the happiest, most contented guy in the world. His life is spent in a situation comedy, behind the curve, attempting to fit in. He’s hatched many venture. He hosted a public access TV show, built himself a government-approved fallout shelter with a snack bar, ran a lighting company, and started a “wellness centre.” He has attempted to memorize two words from the dictionary every night to improve his vocabulary, invented a new game for kids called ‘Take Off Your Pants!”, and tried to sell his loft with all his artworks hung in it. Little of it pans out, but Mike endures loss helplessly—one might say naturally.

More writing about Baby Ikki and Mike will appear closer to the the time of the performance.

Michael Smith (b. 1951) lives in Brooklyn, NY and Austin, Texas, where he teaches performance art at the University of Texas.
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By: Yale Union

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