Introduction to the Visual Arts

The Mina Show

Banner for Art110, Spring 2015

This week Performance Art meets New Media meets the Flashmob in The Mina Show!

Marina Barnes in a red Target shopping cart and covered with plush animals, some of which she is tossing joyously into the air with her arms outstretched in celebration and her feet sticking out the end of the cart
Marina Barnes, star of “The Mina Show” at Target, having a very “Mina Show” moment!

The Mina Show

During Instagram Day Marina Barnes told us about The Mina Show. The Mina Show is the name she gives to something that probably all of us do at least occasionally: imagine that we’re the star of our own TV show. Some of us might only do this occasionally, like daydreaming in the shower. Others make YouTube videos about it. And be honest, who hasn’t rehearsed their Academy Award Acceptance Speech at least once?

The idea for your Mina Show is to take those tiny little “wouldn’t it be cool if” moments in your day, and use the excuse of filming your TV show to actually do some of them. We all (or some of us anyway) walk by the cart full of plush animal toys at Target and think that it’d be cool to just dive in! But only Mina actually does that. Now you can too!

Here’s Marina’s description.

The Mina Show. Somehow have students portray their life as a TV show maybe with a video or a series of images. Do things you wouldn’t do if you weren’t performing for the camera. Put excitement into something that would otherwise be mundane! You can have Mina show moments in public or in private, whatever works for you.


Spend a few minutes online learning a bit about:

  • Performance Art
  • Flashmobs

PerformANCE Art is something of a cross between Fine Art and PerformING Arts. It can use elements of, but is definitely different from, PerformING Arts like Theatre and Dance. Performance Art, can be playful, but it’s often pretty heavy. Your Mina Show is likely to be a lot lighter, but you should still know a bit about the long and compelling tradition of Performance Art.

Your Activity

It might be most compelling to do your Mina Show on a single day. You could use SOA Gallery Courtyard Thursday to do it. Or a day on the weekend. Or whenever you like. As Marina described above, you could use video or photos, and you could work in public spaces or private spaces.

Pick a few moments through your day and indulge in a bit of rich, interior, fantasy life. Take pix. Or vids. Maybe interview strangers.

Do have fun, and do push your limits a little, but please DO NOT DO anything dangerous to yourself or others. DO NOT DO anything mean spirited or hurtful to others. DO NOT DO anything illegal. DO NOT DISRUPT classes at CSULB (other than Art110, which you may always disrupt)

Your Documentation

As always, blog it! Post your vid, or a few pix, an a bit of analysis. What did you try to do? Did it work? How did you feel? How does what you did compare to Performance Art? How does it compare to a Flashmob?

Marina Barnes making a face in the CSULB School of Art, Gallery Courtyard
During Art110 “Instagram Day,” Marina Barnes told us about “The Mina Show”

Your Comfort Level

It’s probably fair to say that Marina is an extrovert. But about 2/3’s of us in Art110 would probably self-describe ourselves as introverts. What about us!? What are we supposed to do for The Mina Show?

My suggestion for The Mina Show is pretty much my suggestion for all of Art110, and in fact your whole CSULB career, and maybe even for life itself: push your comfort zone – a little. If you do everything well within your comfort zone, well, it’s comfortable. But comfortable people don’t really learn and do and grow. Comfortable people don’t climb mountains. They watch TV. Your own mountain might be a physical rock on earth, or it might be starting a business, or it might be talking to an outgoing person like Marina when you’re a lot more shy and reserved.

On the other hand, if you push your comfort zone a lot, you’re probably going to be very uncomfortable. You might feel so stressed and awkward that you don’t have any fun, or learn anything powerful, or achieve very much. Just a lot of stress.

So find a middle space. Not Marina’s middle or my middle, but your own middle. Push yourself to come out of your shell a little, but not too much. You don’t need to worry about doing The Mina Show, because only Marina can do The Mina Show. You only have to do a great Veronica Show, or James Show, or Hannah Show.

Another Marina, Marina Abramovic, is a famous Performance Artist. For decades she has done works that push her own body and mind to their limits. Her works are often difficult. Its hard to imagine how she does them. They can be challenging for us just to watch videos of them. When asked if she does these works for shock value, Abramovic has said no, that when she has an idea, she immediately doesn’t want to do it, but then she knows that she must push herself to do it. Lady Gaga has described Marina Abramovic as “limitless.”

Marina Barnes basking high in a tree on the CSULB campus
Marina Barnes having a “Mina Show” moment.

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