FERGUS BYRNE DESCRIBES ‘ONGOING CHANGE’, A SERIES OF PERFORMANCES, BY THE PERFORMANCE COLLECTIVE, WHICH TOOK PLACE AT THE GALWAY ARTS CENTRE FROM 16 – 29 JULY 2012.
‘Subject to Ongoing Change’ was an immense project held at Galway Arts Centre by The Performance Collective. Programmed as part of the Galway Arts Festival, Maeve Mulrennan made the bold step of dedicating two weeks of the gallery’s programme to performance art. The group: Dominic Thorpe, Pauline Cummins, Frances Mezzetti, Michelle Brown and Alex Conway, improvised ensembles for four hours without pause every day.(1)
The Collective formed four years ago to give mutual support to each other’s performance art practice. Having performed collectively only three times prior to Galway, a full two weeks was a challenging prospect.
Each time I visited, I wrote with the intention of capturing the live nature of the work. This engagement became very particular, giving me a clear role and way of experiencing the work. Ultimately, helpless, I would lay aside the pen and join in.
Things begin quietly each day and built over time. Through engaging with objects, activity develops in the space. A consistent feature is that of objects held in the mouth. It seems almost a replacement for the act of speech, which is not strictly banned but does not feature as part of these performers’ material. A sign on the door requests silence. Their interest is in the use of objects and the communication that emerges and dissolves over time through the manipulation of these objects. The objects are mundane and vary each day – kitchen ware, shirts, a manual sewing machine, a stepladder, pillows and surgical gloves are only some examples. By not speaking the inquiry intensifies as no activity is ever explained or reduced by words that can nullify surreal qualities. [Read more…]