SCHIZOANALYTIC PERFORMANCE PRACTICE IN TOMAR, PORTUGAL, MAY 2010
I am walking around in circles on the stage. I feel disoriented and distanced from this place. It is a café with a stage, some lighting on the ceiling. The audiences is either sitting or standing a bit further away and lower than the stage. They are quiet, and I cannot see them well, because of the stage-lighting. In general the whole room is quite dimly lit, and the effect is not so staged. There is a blue curtain covering the back-wall behind the stage. There are a double bass, an electric guitar and an amplifier on stage.
I am standing on the stage with a small guitar amplifier, guitar and loop-box. I do not have a direct plan to begin with, but I have decided to use guitar and loop-box at some moment. As happened in the previous practice of this kind in Tampere, March 2009, I walk around in circles on the stage. After that I try to take of my shirt. I do not make direct contact with the audience, but I am hypersensitive to their presence, which makes me nervous. I walk around the stage and for some reason, which is not fully intentional, I start to grunt, make noises and grimace at the audience and to myself. I let myself fall down on the stage-floor and I scratch the floor – which is covered with a carpet – with my nails. I wave myself from side to side, then stand up and swirl around some more. I fall on the stage a little bit harder, and this leads into a loop of falling, coming up and swirling. A few times I fall intentionally off the stage. I am aware of the frame that I am in. I do not go crazy but I am conscious, I do not forget where I am. I am performing but ambiguous about what is really happening. There is no clear observer or judge in me or projected into exteriority, but rather an effluvious presence of consciousness. I pick up my electric guitar, which is connected to a digital loop-box, and play some aggravating riffs. I use the loop-box to build a loop of around forty seconds, on which I can layer more and more guitar noises. The sound of the guitar is very dry and without any bass. It reminds me of the sound of the band DNA, as you can hear it for instance in their first album A Taste of DNA, or in the film Downtown 81 (1981) directed by Edo Bertoglio. While I am messing around with the guitar and layering more loops, I am whirling around the stage on the verge of falling. It feels clumsy, tense and I notice that I am more conscious of what I am doing, in contrast to the beginning of the performance. I am ashamed of my lack off skill. The layers of repetitive sound build up a noisy and chaotic frame – a protective ‘shield’ from the audience – which makes me feel uncomfortably distant. I dwindle more in my thoughts. I am aware of my actions, but I am utterly uncertain what is going on. I do not want to entertain, but neither do I deny it completely. I feel extremely tense and stressed, and feel that I am on the verge of my mental capacity.
I don’t like to fool around just for my own pleasure. I lie down on the ground and turn off the loop-box and turn down volume of the guitar. Then, once again, I am twirling and walking around the stage. I am busy doing something. After a while I walk off the stage and pick up my shirt. I stay for a while in the shadow, but not off-stage enough for the audience to believe that the performance might have ended. I walk back on the stage, and explain that buttoning up my shirt is a similar action to what the audience had just seen – automatic and repetitious. Then I walk off the stage and audience applaud. Someone screams for an encore. I think about it for a moment, but feel awkward, since repeating a performance seems out of line. However, the context is different from a typical art performance setting: there is a stage, lights, guitar, amplifier and props. After some hesitation I promise to do a one minute encore. I walk on the stage and make a short noise loop again. I lie on my back and take a tense position on the floor for a minute. Then I stand up; turn off the loop box and amplifier and walk off the stage.