Live cyclical performance/installation | 1997
And was an ensemble performance originally for 10 artists and performers: film-makers, actors, dancers, painters and sculptors. Different phases of action were repeated in a continuous cycle of approximately 40 minutes throughout the day, extending beyond the opening and closing times of the gallery. Spectators walk among the group spread throughout the gallery. The performers met in different combinations and broke simple actions into discrete parts, playing various sections backwards and forwards. Performers would sychronize, using simple phrases to establish a rhythm (like playing a piece of film back and forth). This established – accidentally – a primitive dance through repetition, based on ordinary action: a greeting, passing a coat, giving a present, offering a crisp, etc. It suspended progression and held a moment in pulsing, stuttering stasis.
And was developed with an Artsadmin bursary and later funded by the Arts Council of England and the British Council.
“For seven hours each day, Stevens’ team are locked into repeat performances of a 35-minute sequence of minutely choreographed tableaux vivants that turn the participants into a conscious installation… the closer you look, the more you become distracted by the detail, the “and another thing” of it all. With their faces firmly impassive, the effect can be comic, like watching an aerobics class of malfunctioning Stepford Wives. But there sweating mannequins retain enough traces of their humanity to lend them the forlorn dignity of Beckett characters. You may just find your feet refusing to leave the gallery.” The Independent
Photographs: South London Gallery, Vit Hopley; Arsenic, Lausanne, Yann Mingard.