Part game show, part love story, part lecture exploring modern friendships.
Purge addresses where online friendship stops and real friendship begins. In 2010, Brian discovered that his deceased ex-boyfriend and best friend, Grant, had deleted him from Friendster (a pre-Facebook networking site), which neither had checked since they stopped dating in 2006. Although they had since re-‘friended’ in life (both virtually and non-virtually), it was the discovery of this past de-friending (and impossibility to ‘reconnect’ since Grant’s death), which inspired Brian to create Purge in 2011.
In 2011, Brian Lobel played a brutal game of friendship maintenance: over 5 days in cafés in both London and Kuopio, Finland, Brian gave strangers one minute to decide which of his 1300 Facebook friends to keep or delete. The deleting was real, the pace was maniacal, the results were final.
50 hours of performance, 800 emails from angry, amused and intrigued friends and over 2500 comments from people watching via live stream later, Purge is an interactive performance lecture exploring the process of, and fallout from purging and examines how we emotionally and socially interact with digital media.
Brian Lobel creates performances about bodies and how they are watched, policed, poked, prodded, and loved by others. The New York-born, London-based Lobel has shown work internationally in a range of contexts, from medical schools to galleries, cabarets to museums, marketplaces to forests, blending provocative humor with insightful reflection.