“Life is a loop,” Matthew Silver says, and he would know: The street performer helped co-found the “looping” movement. And his talents are on full display in this exclusive Rolling Stone video.
Co-founded by Silver and fellow performance artist Fritz Donnelly in the spring of 2015, looping allows a community of people to participate in something like a free-for-all adult playtime, wearing silly costumes or underwear in broad daylight on the streets of New York City. With wacky props and eccentric make-up or body paint, the participants become an “animal tribe,” focusing on improvised movements and interactions with whomever passes by. “I get to call people on the street ‘mommy,'” looper Took Edelow says just before greeting a welcoming stranger. “I feel like we all created each other just a little bit.”
“We’re all huddled together,” Silver narrates. “It’s all like we’re a tribe. In this moment, we’re really close. We’re an animal tribe. We love each other. Then afterwards, we all have to go to our day jobs.”
For all involved, looping is not only about unleashing one’s inner child, but it’s also about release from every day frustrations and the freedom to act weird. “It’s permission to play as an adult,” Donnelly explains. “We don’t always have permission to play — but now we’re giving permission.”