Monday, 18 July 2011

11 Rooms – Part Three

Ok final stretch now, turning a corner into Marina Abramovic's Luminosity the first thing to strike me is the sensation that I am not looking at something three dimensional but rather at some kind of projection. An illuminated image which becomes more human as I spend more time within the presence of the performer perched naked on a bicycle seat attached to the wall. You might expect to get a sense of the performer's vulnerability but in this case the performer seems to be protected somewhat by the white line across the floor. Once I am outside of the performance space and queuing for Xu Zhen (I'm referencing the map now) I witness a changeover of the performers for Luminosity. Seeing this add a workman like element suggesting that artist, spiritual and emotional transformation can be achieved through simple pragmatic hard work.

Then onto Xu Zhen's In the Blink of the Eye where I'm confronted by a performer trapped in an impossible pose bent and suspended as if about to hit the floor. Unable to achieve the expected relief of hitting the floor.

Next is Lucy Raven's What Manchester Does Today the Rest of the World Does Tomorrow, which features a player piano playing a version of what I discover is LCD Soundsystem's Dance Yrself Clean ( ) my nerdy brain fixes on the idea that this is a reference to Manchester's musical influence. While in the room watching the piano play itself and having no performance to focus on I find myself, not for the first time, watching my fellow audience members and I begin to note the different way people behave. Some look like they are giving the whole thing a lot of thought, some like bored, one plays a little air piano. In having this piece of automatic music would seem to allow this piece to explore that relationship between art and audience.

Time another queue, this time for Mirror Check by Joan Jonas. It's a classic piece of body art, where complex ideas are explored through apparently simple methods. In this case the female performer stands in the middle of the room looking into a mirror held in her hands. Were too far away to see what's in the mirror but that shouldn't matter we as the audience can already see what the performer can't. So why pay attention to the mirror? As only the performer looks directly into the mirror do we, somehow expect to catch of glimpse of something of the performers inner world, her thoughts about physical self and how it relates to our gaze and where our notions of the self-come from. Or I might be reading too much into it and perhaps should enjoy the delicate contortions which the performer undergoes to move the mirror around her body. In a performance which has been performed, is being performed by many of us privately.

After the final queue I am crouching down on the floor looking at a man trapped in Laura Lima's MEN=flesh/WOMEN=flesh – FLAT , while watching this performer I notice he slowly moves his fingers as I've been doing since getting on the floor. Is this man my mirror? Who is performing for whom here? There is something which has been going through my mind as I've been working in-between the rooms and it's been my role as audience, everybody's role as audience our we in turn acting out a performance of sorts. Our movements governed by the conditions of the space our individual reactions to the work creating hundreds of quiet performances in each other. I don't know whether this is the case of not but I guess my final performance would be walking pass the people still waiting, willing to take part.

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