28.09.2011 - 13.11.2011
How do we understand the notion of ‘experience’ when so much of our daily lives are fast-paced, where our attention is split by a never-ending stream of distraction? How can we locate ourselves in the ‘now’? What would happen if you gathered a group of people in a space and asked them to perform one simple task, repeatedly and simultaneously for an hour? These were the motivating questions for Off the Route, a cyclical performance series that actively blurs the distinction between repeated live events and the subsequent documentation.
In the live encounter visitors are invited to participate in experimental performative workshops. On arrival to the designated space, participants are assigned one of three tasks: to speak – to read aloud a given quote repeatedly; to type – to record on a typewriter everything they hear; to observe – to watch and listen, taking in the event as it unfolds. All three tasks are to be carried out for fifty-five minutes, at which point everyone ceases and holds silence and stillness.
Influenced by Fluxus, performance and conceptual art and theoretical concerns of the live event and documentation, Off The Route is a series that attempts to interrogate notions of ‘experience’, ‘authenticity’, and ‘(re)mediation’. While Off the Route seemingly operates primarily around the live performative workshops, the documentation (audio, hand-typed paper documents, participant reflections) are vital components to the series. These documents not only become the basis for the following performances, but are also layered into various components of the series’ installation. The sound installation, the expanded publication and the projected reflections are dynamic elements that shift and evolve as the performances continue. In a sense Off the Route becomes a self-documenting art machine, reliant on individuals and group dynamics. It is a series primed for multiplicity setting out to deliberately blur the distinction between the live and the recorded. Each individual experience (whether encountered live or through various forms of documentation) constitutes the artwork – there is no criterion for the ‘truth’ in experience, no one location where the artwork resides.
For more information on the development of the series:
Image credit: Nick Clifford