Monday, 28 March 2011

Fierce Festival: Symphony of a Missing Room - Lundahl & Seitl

This is why I am here. This is why I've travelled here.

But where did it start? Four weeks ago I am standing in WH Smiths, killing time, reading The Wire reading about this thing, a collision of sound art and performance, space and memory. It's telling me I will be able to experience it within a certain time in a certain space.

Now, two weeks later, I am sat by my computer, at home; I've elected to take the experience.

I am waiting for it to begin; an elderly man in a long leather trench coat wearing mirrored sunglasses, carrying a cane throws his hat on the ground and sings to the sun.

I am in a nervous group my hands are free.

We follow the first guide, she leads us to a second guide already we are different, separate from everyone else, in this space, in this museum. We are given headphones a woman's voice is cooing instructions we follow another woman I never see her face, she leads us through museum rooms, have I been here before? I haven't been here but I've been here in other museums at other times haven't I? There's a piano playing we follow the guide, is she a guide? We've followed her so far, followed the instructions coming through the headphones and we find ourselves on the threshold of something if we already weren't.

We close our eyes,I hope we close are eyes. The world goes white even through my closed eyes the world goes white. Everything drops away I lose my sense of place I lose sense of time I lose any sense of anyone else but myself.

Is this where it starts?

I feel like I about to passout, slip into a lucid dream. The museum space has already dropped away, the group, the other people within the museum have gone with it. All there is, is the voice coming through from somewhere else is telling me about a room, unknown to anyone else, secret yet known,I realise that to access this room I have to give myself I have to reach out and take that hand in front(?) of me and allow it to take me where either it goes.

Space shifts through corridors, small passageways, woods, space has become elastic anything physical sense of the museum has gone all I know is that there is enough floor space to cover my footfall. Throughout this all are the hands that reach out from somewhere perhaps they are projections of my imagination, whatever the case they guide me gently, gracefully, their benign presence stops the anxiety, they don't laugh at me when I reach out to feel for that non-existent tree (I know it's not there but I have to feel for it).

I have given myself to this 'performance' I have slipped willing into this other space, this other time and it occurs to me this will end and I don't want it to. Here in this space it feels that the elastic promise of dreams can be fulfilled. On reflection it seems an incredible thing to say, I know that the world doesn't work that way but when the time comes to leave the other space I find myself back in the material world, looking at the reflection of the group in the glass covering some painting of a grand sailing ship I feel disappointed, I know that this experience will end, the memory of it will fade.

I feel the gently push of hands on my back; they are putting me right where I belong. I, we open our eyes back in the museum, fully this time in front of us someone lies on the ground, just beyond that three others sit squarely and watch us it's as if they are just on the edge of my understanding, the soon to be forgotten elements of this dream.

We close our eyes for the last time, we lay on the floor, a tap on my shoulder my eyes open and my headphones (the last connection) are removed.

I get to my feet, as do the others and we are out of that other space, we collect coats, one of the group asks me: 'do you think we ever left that room?' yes we did, we have been were we have been, the experience has been real, like the places we visit in our dreams the places we forge from our memories.

I am eating cheap food, in a dim pub.

I am waiting at an empty train station.

This is why I came here and the further away I get, the more I want to go back.

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