Possum crop for projects-1

live ensemble performance | 2003

The group sits resting their heads against the walls of the gallery as if they were asleep but they are alert to each others’ movements and roll their heads to glance around the room. They stand together and find a place on the floor away from the others. They occupy themselves with some small activity but are acutely aware of being observed. A performer tries to approach another but as they get near he collapses to the floor and plays dead.

They try to do everything together, they bring on furniture and various objects and try to place them slowly and carefully so that all the objects touch the ground at the same time. One makes a sudden movement or drops an object and the group explodes into action. They drop everything and run. They try to recover but respond to the chaos, dropping the objects and running again and again. They try to engage in conversation but any enquiry puts everyone on edge and they freeze. The danger may pass but it may cause panic with everyone dropping whatever they are holding and then collapsing to the floor.

The performance was originally conceived as an installation that would occupy the gallery with a simple interactive strategy – to play dead if anyone tried to get too close, engage or interrogate the performers. It was an unstable, fragile series of tableaux vivants that could be broken by speech or would explode and re-form rather than develop as a narrative.

CAPITALS. Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian, Centro de Arte Moderna, Temporarias do Camjap, Lisbon. 2003

Performed by: Pedro Almeida, Carla Cabanas, Diana Conde, Marilia Maria Mira, Teresa Prima, Rita Raposo, Fernando Ribeiro, Pietro Romani, Isobel Salgado and Ligia Soares.