Art In 30-Second Increments

Art In 30-Second Increments

INVERSE Challenge prompts creatives to share


It’s a question Cynthia Post Hunt has been asked all her professional life — and she was asking it before she herself knew the answer. In addition to her work programming dance and theater for the Momentary in Bentonville, Post Hunt is a performance artist and founder of the INVERSE Performance Art Festival.

“I knew I wanted to be a contemporary artist when I learned about Ann Hamilton’s work,” Post Hunt remembers. “She’s an artist who makes large-scale, multi-media installations that are site specific and always have performance involved. She does so much research and brings in this abstracted storytelling component, and her shows are incredibly beautiful.

“When I saw her work, I thought, ‘I don’t know what that is, but I want to do it’ — which is basically utilizing all the senses and being able to make work that is really experiential.”

Post Hunt explains she was studying photography but found herself bogged down in the science that went with it.

“I realized getting ready and setting up for the photo was my favorite part, so I got rid of the camera and started just doing what I was going to do for a photo, but I did it in real time.”

Post Hunt brought the idea of performance art with her when she moved to Fayetteville from Chicago more than five years ago, hosting the first INVERSE Festival in April 2016. Part of the joy of the event, she said at the time, was the notion of the unknown — the unexpected that might happen at any performance. She’s ramped that concept up more than a few notches with the current project undertaken in relationship with the Momentary. Called the INVERSE Challenge, it has called on nationally recognized performance artists to issue creative prompts and on local creatives to fulfill them through video they shoot and share on Instagram.

“The INVERSE Challenge was our response to covid-19, adapting like everyone had to adapt,” she says. “I really wanted to do something that invited the audience to explore and experience as much as the artists, and what could be better than to invite everyone to make their own performance from home? Four of the artists have performed with INVERSE in Arkansas, and the fifth artist is amazing and I’m so excited to work with her in the future.

Amber Eggleton and Cynthia Post Hunt create together in this image courtesy of the artists. Post Hunt is founder of the INVERSE Performance Art Festival, which has morphed to include an online INVERSE Challenge this spring.
(Courtesy Photo)

“Thinking through who we really wanted to curate into the group, we knew we wanted to present a breadth of what performance art practice looks like,” Post Hunt goes on. “Each one of the artists looks at their practice very differently and defines performance very differently. Then thinking about the prompts they created, it was really cool for them to think about how to incorporate an audience they may have met before but also a virtual audience online. As a performer used to some type of audience and that energy, they had an opportunity to consider what kind of experience you can ask of an audience when they may be miles away.”

Post Hunt says her fondest wish is that artists and performers will see how they can use performance art as a tool to support their chosen medium. But she also hopes everyone will be inspired to take a moment — actually, 30 seconds — to create something outside their normal routine.

“Thirty seconds means you don’t have to invest much time, and you don’t have a lot to lose,” she says with a chuckle. “I’ve made three responses to the first prompt, still trying to find THE one.

“My hope is that we can continue to think about these prompts as another way to engage on a daily basis, whether we’re in self-isolation mode or just looking for something new to do. It’s a nice way to get out of your routine.”

Go Online!

INVERSE Challenge

Read about the challenge at

Find the prompts at

Create one or more 30-second video responses to any of the prompts.

Post your videos to your Instagram account using the hashtag #MOINVERSEChallenge and mention @themomentary and @inverseperformanceartfestival.

Post and tag multiple responses through the end of the challenge on May 24.

And stay tuned for the INVERSE Lab monthly series; a virtual residency; and the INVERSE Festival this fall.

Categories: Galleries