On this website I want to show you the whole process that I have been able to experience this semester.
The idea for the performance
There’re two performers standing facing each other but diagonally. They have a bunch of
objects, some on a little table on their side, some in their pockets. The audience is
sitting/standing in the circle around them.
Two members of the audience, who will be notified and agree in advance to participate, will
tell out loud a description and interpretation of what the performers are doing/did, what
he/she sees/saw. These members of the audience will be sitting in front of each other in the
circle, meaning each of them right behind each of the performers.
The performance starts with the two actors interacting with each other, with the objects,
etc. One member of the audience starts describing what he is seeing but will have only a
limited vision of what’s happening. Due to his position in the circle, he will only be able to
see the back of one performer and only the face of the other. The description of the
audience member will be like a mirror of the (partial) actions of the performers, but are the
interpretations, if there would be, that will guide what is performed, meaning, the
performers will react to what’s being said. If there were not interpretations from the first
participant, the performers will continue to decide what they do.
The performers stop moving. The other already designated member of the audience, who is
sitting on the opposite side of the circle than the first audience member and therefore sees
what the first couldn’t, describes and interprets what he saw.
In this performance, the audience will, at first, function as a mirror, describing exactly what
he/she sees (external behavior, STAGE 2 from Dan Graham’s performance). But later it
becomes more than that by interpreting what he believes the performers mean by their
actions (STAGE 1 from DG’s performance). The second audience member gets involved once
the performers stop moving and describes and interprets what he saw, but his perception of
what he saw would have been probably affected by what the first member already said.
So there’s two outcomes: if there’s interpretations that lead the performers to act
accordingly, they turn into puppets of the audience. If the audience only limits itself to
describe, then they are the performer’s puppets.
Dan Graham in Intention, intentionality, sequence: “Now I want to do something where the
audience and I would be a kind of a cause and effect relationship, each other’s cause and
effect at nearly the same moment of stimulus/response. I might be doing something where I
affected the audience, where they were the cause of that effect, and they would be able to
see it in me as a consequence.”
We are also interested in how roles are exchanged; the audience becomes the mirror but
also the performer. This constant interaction is key, as it impacts how the audience sees
itself, how it chooses to react, what it says, how it shows itself, etc.