On entering the space one by one, the audience members are presented with a small installation on a plinth containing shrimp from the experiment on which this piece is based, placed in vials, next to vials of antidepressants cut into a half-moon shape. They are supplied with magnifying glasses to examine the specimens before taking their seat.




This performance began with an experiment in marine biology. Professor Alex Ford of the University of Portsmouth measured the effects of antidepressants in coastal sea water on the behaviour of Shrimp.


Shrimp have evolved to stay in the shadows, where it’s safe. As the levels of antidepressants in the ocean rise, the shrimp show a tendency to swim upwards into the light, where they are often eaten by seagulls.


This effect is measurable because of the many millions of humans who take these medications. You might think of the experiment as a measure of secret human sadness.


Even today mental illness is personalised - an individual problem with no bearing on society and whether the structures of late capitalism are working or producing happy humans. Not to speak of other species. Not to speak of the Earth.


We are given pills and asked to go back to work. This economy is designed to grow perpetually.


If these things make sense, why are so many millions burying their despair beneath the ocean waves? Even the shrimp have noticed

This is a live performance for three artists: Paul Michael Henry (choreography, dance, music, concept); Jer Reid (music, dramaturgy) and Jamie Wardrop (visual design and live video art). The text given indicates what the audience experience on entering the performance space. I have also included the live text spoken during the performance as it may not be clear on the recording. Full video of a performance in Frankfurt in February 2020 can be seen by clicking the image below (full screen option available).






A painful swelling of the face and throat

A yellow of the skin or the eyes

Headaches, drowsiness, hair loss, chills and sweating

Strange visions

Plastic of the heart and the hands

A reduced sense of touch


Keep this leaflet

Over 4000 different drugs running every day down drains and plugholes

Through sewers and cisterns

Out into the ocean

Where they whisper to the fishes and shrimp


Keep this leaflet

The following side effects have been observed:


An unusual production of breast milk in men and women

Dissociation and feelings of unreality

Isolation from family and friends

Plastic of the gums and brain

Memory loss

Difficulty sleeping

Difficulty waking up

An obscure feeling of loss or panic


But this medication has been developed with you in mind

It will soothe your yearning

It will dull your love

It will make things copeable


Imagine the jaws of a seagull closing on a shrimp


The moon is leaving us at a rate of 1cm every year


Plastic of the guts and feet

A reduced sense of touch

Nightmares, boredom, ennui

A reduced sense of touch


Ghosts along the spine

A reduced sense of touch


These pills may make you feel worse before you feel better


These pills may make you worse before you feel









Please soften your eyes:

I’m searching for the moon in my blood


We’ve been moonless and tideless

And trembling and tideless


We’re missing each other.

We’re walking right through each other.


Focus on the hurt place

In the chest.



I have a question:

Will you be the moon in my blood?


Soften your eyes.

Please soften your eyes.

Will you be the moon in my blood?