BOW: post from the field #4: September 25, 2015
| from Calgary, developing the performance score
We hauled a heavy wooden table and four chairs over and down the retaining rocks that skirt Prince’s Island, through the water and onto the small, pebbled island visible from the Peace Bridge. The Surge Co. dancers’ performance score is simultaneous to ours; they begin in duos and trios across the entire length of the bridge and ultimately join us by wading through the water to the island, which marks the end of the performance score.
Calgary dance artist Oriana Pagnotta dances with us on the small island. Seated at the table armed with a stapler, pens, a stamp, a stack of manila file folders, a jug of water and four wineglasses, Oriana becomes the representation of the blind mechanisms of bureaucracy. Mostly seated on chairs, Anne, Wojciech, and I present Oriana’s character with pebbles or stones and wait with trepidation to see if she will file or reject the object. She holds the stone a loft, feels the weight of it, examines its’ texture and other properties before either: vigorously stamping it, labeling it, and stapling it into a file folder; or throwing it far away. If Oriana’s character is particularly displeased with the object offered, she slowly pours water into a wineglass, and then flings it into our face (or other parts of our bodies). When we are doused with water, we must fall from our chairs onto the stones, and stay put until we have the gumption to collect and offer another object. Nothing we do goes unnoticed by Oriana’s character: our dance is monitored by her. We are thrilled by Oriana’s willingness to play such an unlikable character. We are also delighted by the questions our actions provoked in incidental audiences during our rehearsals.