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Various locations, Penzance, 18/7/09
'...Insite' took place on Saturday the 18th of July in various public spaces in Penzance. The programme was structured in such a way as to allow the audience to tour the various works and locations as a group, whilst the publicly sited nature of the project also allowed for by-passers who did not join the main audience to still see and experience the work.
Weeks and Whitford's 'De-Tour' of Penzance's Causewayhead and Chapel Street opened the day's programme. The work had a double function both as a psycho-geographically motivated work celebrating the mythic qualities of Penzance and its people, and as a bridge to the other works. Through taking people on a tour with Weeks in the role of tour guide complete with blue and gold uniform and Whitford as her assistant, the tour established a relationship with the audience as guides not only to the town but to the unseen layers of history, memories and stories that make up the fabric of the identity of the town and the people. The work continued and developed an interest that Weeks and Whitford have in place and people, that allows for an entry into the mythic from the everyday and which has emerged as a strong element both in their individual work and within their collaborations.
Once 'De-tour' had concluded the audience followed Weeks and Whitford down to the cafe at the Jubilee Pool, where they met Dr. Cosa Chosisme (AKA Delpha Hudson). They were invited to take part in her 'Object Readings' which involved the theatrical figure of Dr Chosisme reading the contents of peoples pockets and bags, which she did through studying the objects and forming an at once perceptive and 'tongue in cheek' analysis of the objects signification and its owners character. This process required a great deal of discretion on the part of Dr Chosisme, who in borrowing from the archetype of the tarot reader, created an atmosphere of intimacy with her participants whilst others drank tea and looked on. The performance relates to Hudson's ongoing work with and research into the ontology of objects and her approach to live art that allows for a blurring between a constructed character and herself.
The audience were then invited to travel down the promenade to join Zierle and Carter who had been on the prom since the morning gathering messages about lost relations and faded friendships from passers-by for their twelve hour durational performance titled 'Untying The Knot'. They were encamped in one of the shelters which they had transformed into a ‘tea kitchen’. Here audience members could sit down, refresh themselves and contribute writing that was tagged to an item of clothing. This item was subsequently joined onto a long line of other clothes already laid out along the promenade.
At this point Andy Whall delivered his performance lecture titled 'Blocart', in the Engine Room of The Exchange. The lecture outlined his unique fusion of bouldering climbing techniques and live art phenomenological enquiry. In anticipation of his lecture Andy had installed images of past climbing performances and a 'boulder problem' on the wall of the gallery, which - as he delivered his talk describing the relationship between the problem and the fluidity of the movements generated by the climber - he encouraged the audience to attempt to climb. Various people took up the challenge and quickly realised the degree of strength and skill required to make any progress up the wall, as well as the fluidity of the movements generated in attempts at 'solving the problem'.
As sunset approached the audience rejoined Zierle and Carter on the promenade for the finale to their performance. The two-hundred-metre-long line of clothes with attached notes had been rolled up and tied into a giant bundle and pushed down onto the beach. There the ‘knot’ of clothes was untied with the help of the audience and pulled to the water’s edge.
Carter then waded out into the sea to meet the boat. Zierle and several helpers were positioned along the length of the rope at points along the beach, lifting their section and passing it along until gradually all of the clothes floated on the water. Now up to his chest in the waves, Carter tied the rope onto the back of the boat, which then gracefully headed out into the bay and took the clothes out to sea. Viewed through provided binoculars, the audience watched the fisherman’s boat with the trail of clothes in tow vanishing into the horizon for their symbolic sea burial.
At this point the element of audience participation shifted to drinking the glasses of wine, and eating the marine-themed chocolates they were offered. Carter shivered and dried himself off as an assistant inflated a metre-wide white heart shaped balloon with helium from a large canister. Once the balloon was inflated the audience was invited by Zierle to write their wishes for their future relations onto a balloon.
At this stage the performance took on a celebratory atmosphere. With its audience on deck chairs and artists subsequently dressed in ball gown and tails, the scene was like a film set. The work reached its crescendo to a soundtrack of 1920’s and 1930’s jazz ballads themed around love and loss broadcast over a megaphone. This created an air of nostalgia whilst Zierle and Carter walked out to the receding sea and released the white balloon off into the darkening sky and the onlookers cheered.
This special filmic moment brought to a close a day of diverse works which were well received by the general public and regular art-goers alike and which, with skill, experience and a commitment to communication from the artists, bridged the perceived gap between the general public and live art.
Artists Andy Whall, Delpha Hudson, Rebecca Weeks & Ian Whitford, Paul Carter & Alexandra Zierle Project Organisers Rebecca Weeks, Ian Whitford Additional publicity Paul Carter Additional photos Brigitte Ariel Newman
Rebecca Weeks 12/08/09