Simone E Le Page '23 on an army crawl through downtown Bar Harbor as part of her senior project, ... Simone E Le Page ’23 on an army crawl through downtown Bar Harbor as part of her senior project, Passing Time.

Do you know how many grains of rice are in a cup? According to Simone E Le Page ’23, there are 9,666 of them, to be exact. Have you made long, awkward eye-contact with someone who was walking around campus backwards? It might have been with Le Page if it was during the term they were completing their senior project.

Le Page’s unconventional project, Passing Time, blended performance art and pottery to explore norms of time, direction, and failure, to think about planting seeds for social change and how to care for each other in a capitalist world that puts consumption above all else.

“Individuals are taking necessary actions all over the world, to right the wrongs of history and the present day, but I see those actions shunned, I see those people violated, and I see fear continue to infiltrate our lives,” Le Page said. “In the robotic extremities of these cold and uncaring systems, I know people feel more ungrounded than ever as we are inundated with debt, jobs, lack of health care… We have to perform actions that we can take pride in, actions that will plant seeds for change.”

Passing Time, a senior project by Simone E LePage '23, included creating scores of clay pots ... Passing Time, a senior project by Simone E LePage '23, included creating scores of clay pots and then offering students the change to break them into pieces.

Passing Time, a four-dimensional art project, was structured through scores, functioning as pre-written instructions Le Page wrote or chose for themself. These scores outlined the varied activities they would perform each week, such as army crawling in downtown Bar Harbor, counting grains of rice, staying in Take-A-Break dining hall for 24 hours, and throwing scores of clay pots. They also wrote journal entries for six weeks following their work.

“Protest and art have such a strong overlap, especially in performance art… There is so much to confront in the world,” Le Page said. “I really don’t want to be a jaded, grown adult who doesn’t care about things anymore.”

Le Page’s army crawl in Bar Harbor, executed on an early Wednesday morning after a night of wheel-throwing pots on campus, was inspired by William Pope.L’s army crawls in a wool suit on hot black asphalt, a protest against anti-homeless police attacks in NYC in the 1990s.

“My crawl was nothing compared to Pope.L’s work, yet it was one of the most difficult scores this term… It is so much easier to submit to the conventional ways of presenting oneself, but that is something I’m working to change,” wrote Le Page in their senior project report. “Humans have to use their bodies and voices to create change.”

A handwritten score of one of the art projects in Passing Time, a senior project by Simone E LePa... A handwritten score of one of the art projects in Passing Time, a senior project by Simone E LePage '23.

“The art that I love the most is expressions and resistance against oppression… an album I really like called The Joy as An Act Of Resistance… makes me grieve a little bit, because why is joy an act of resistance? But, it really is. The world is a very troubling place… we have to practice resistance in the way that we can and also keep ourselves safe,” they said.

Tehching Hsieh, another performance artist Le Page took inspiration from, “punched a time clock every hour on the hour, and photographed himself. This practice restricted his ability to do anything for more than one hour at a time, including sleep. I wanted to try something like this, so I chose to write the time every minute, on the minute. I began at TAB, at 16:05 and continued for exactly two hours. I documented a total of 120 minutes. In that time, I traveled from TAB to Open Table [a community supper in Bar Harbor] and to my home. I experienced the limbo that Hsieh expressed. The feeling of always being stuck between two moments.”

“We all have mental health issues, everyday challenges, and it is an art to stay alive sometimes. Tehching Hsieh says that he did his [art pieces/challenges] to keep himself alive, that his goal for the next six years was just to stay alive. There is a real mental health epidemic. It’s not okay… and art can help us,” Le Page said.

All of Le Page’s scores, such as writing a new piece of music for seven consecutive days, or throwing pots, all represent a moment in time when Le Page was thinking about something or being grounded by a physical process. “It could have been 20 minutes of my life or three minutes of my life,” they remarked.

A collection of scores, including directions for performance art pieces, written by Simone E LePa... A collection of scores, including directions for performance art pieces, written by Simone E LePage '23 and displayed as part of the exhibition for her senior project, Passing Time.

The clay Le Page used came from a factory, but it still tells a story about deep time. “Clay holds particles that have been traveling through time, from mountains and rocks that have been degrading slowly, over millions of years,” they explained.

In Le Page’s final exhibition in the Blum Gallery on campus, they wrote, “The objects present in the room are metaphors of time. Each object represents a moment, a memory that lives within me and now you. These objects also represent labor, extraction, and commodification of resources that can only make me look back on the past and question how we got here and where we are headed. Backwards and downwards!”

Much of their senior project was done between midnight and 7 a.m. Le Page has always been a night owl, they explained, and doing all their senior project credits in one term allowed them to experiment with time in other unconventional ways.

“As I explored metaphors for time, I did so on a primarily nocturnal basis. My bedtime was around sunrise, and my morning was between noon and dinner. Being awake at such unusual hours allowed me to bathe in solitude. I was granted the privacy and safety of the night to embody my dreams of process,” they wrote in their report.

For Passing Time, Le Page threw almost 100 pots and glazed 15 of them. A total of 70 of the pots were made to be broken at the end of their senior project by willing participants. “My goal was to throw, throw, throw, and let go. I wanted to make pots to hone in my skills on the wheel, to improve my form, and simply fall into the trance that throwing can offer. I created these pots for the purpose of breaking,” they wrote.

In their pottery practice, they tried lots of glaze layers, throwing with their eyes closed, and other experiments. “I wouldn’t ever experience that if I didn’t just let myself go and accept the failure,” they said.

“I do not see failures in a negative light. As Ada Lovelace asks in César Alvarez’s musical, Futurity, ‘Might not a failed endeavor prove to be just as valuable as a successful one?’ The process of trial and this failure has put me through a journey that led me to tread new, unexplored territories, and it has helped me lay a foundation for the work I hope to carry out in the future,” wrote Le Page.

“My senior project has opened a door to trying new things… it was unconventional, and I feel more excited to just be unconventional and own it. I want to try as many new things as possible… there isn’t one way that I’m going to live my life,” they said.

Simone E Le Page '23 at work on their senior project, Passing Time, during the overnight hours in... Simone E Le Page ’23 at work on their senior project, Passing Time, during the overnight hours in the COA dining hall, Take-a-Break. They finished most of the project between midnight and 7 a.m.