A performance work and process conducted as a blind navigation with the landscape, as part of an ongoing study into nomadic states. A large sphere of inflated black plastic is inhabited by a walker. The sphere’s movement through various terrains perforates the thin plastic, creating a constellation of pinpricks that afford the invisible walker within a mapping system to navigate by. These acts of blind navigation produce a dialogue with each terrain, encountering surfaces, materials, spatial qualities, rhythms, and other movement systems. A dark intrusion occurs that creates alternative, non-linear, fluid narratives in relation to landscapes. The condition of blindness reveals tensions between the body and the geological, geographic, cultural, technological, and architectural terrains encountered.
In the Australian context, walking country has particular significance as a mode of culturally-located knowing, resonant with the ‘songlines’ of Aboriginal tradition. Starting in this ‘storied terrain’ of the Australian continent, the work performs as an autopoetic register of intersections between mobile spatial practices, non-linear narratives, and the organisational fixity of the state polis and urban architecture.
Following an experimental journey in the Murray Riverland, Night Walk journeyed through city spaces in relation to the two Performing Mobilities gallery sites. Temporarily lodging in thresholds of the galleries and their spaces within, this nomadic object unsettled the architecture of the gallery with a provisional spatiality.
In collaboration with Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation
Interpretive Wonderings symposium / Culpra Station, Victoria, Australia / 13-14 September 2015
Performing Mobilities symposium / RMIT and VCA Galleries, Melbourne, Australia / 26 September - 23 October 2015
The Performance Series 2015 / 30Upstairs Gallery, Wellington / 20-28th November 2015
Interpretive Wonderings exhibition / Mildura Arts Centre, Victoria, Australia / 20 February - 10 April 2016
Referencing Borges’ story of the emperor’s map, and Baudrillard’s philosophical analysis of this text, this work casts a meticulous grid over the shifting seascape that it occupies. Threaded on invisible lengths of fishing line and spaced at intervals of exactly 1 metre, 350 small plastic 'pearls' were floated just under the surface of the water in Rijeka's harbour. As the tide reached its full ebb they appeared to almost reach the surface, but never quite did. Arranged with mathematical precision over 50x7m, this grid of dots undulated with the swell, attempting to map or colonise the unfixed, transient nature of the sea with the rigidity of land-based navigational systems and agricultural subdivision. It is polemic and poetic at the same time: casting a shallow ‘net’ that reveals deeper, submarine ecologies, hydrological movements, and environmental concerns about the space. It also examines, in a semi-satirical fashion, the exhausting, absurd, and doomed preoccupation with applying land-based (terrestrial) two-dimensional mapping conventions into a complex, four-dimensional environment.
Zooming Fluid States Festival / Rijeka, Croatia / 9 September 2014
MANY BREATHS (TO LIFT AN ANCHOR FROM THE SEA BED)
An anchor is a boat’s connection with the earth through the sea-floor. It creates a link between the floating fluid state above and the safety and security of terra firma below: holding a boat fast in storms, and keeping it in harbour. This work attempts to use a collective action to retrieve an anchor that has lain on the Long Island seabed for many years, covered in coral and weed. Deep Anatomy participants and members of the island community were be invited to fill plastic bubbles with their breath and attach them to a growing cluster of bubbles affixed to its shank. Thus, piece by piece, the individual breaths would lift the anchor from the sea-bed and return it to the surface.
We shall go to sea my brother
Where three years hence an anchor lay
Past coral gardens on soft blue sand
In fathoms nine
Where sharks patrol and stingrays play
Breathe deep, my mother’s other son
Let us raise this arrow, this hook, this ship’s tether, from its rest
Lift this anchor from the sea’s deep bed
Hang it from a cloud of divers’ breath
Let it bob upon the swell awhile
Before its weight pulls it back to sleep
Let it fall from the light and waves
Let it plummet to the deep
Home again beneath the sea once more
Home again on the ocean’s breast
Deep Anatomy, a regional cluster for the PSi21 Fluid States project / Long Island, The Bahamas / 9 May 2015
dEEP ANATOMY exhibition / Silo Park, Auckland, NZ / 25 November - 4 December 2017
Space Invaders has its origins in two projects: the performance production Ecology in Fifths, and participation in the Shuttle Mobile Performance Laboratory. It was first presented in Stanford University for PSi#19 with artists from the Shuttle project, where the work responded to the specifics of the American cultural landscape and the unwelcome ‘ingress’ of alien cultures and estranged bodies into suburban ecologies: migrant workers, border-crossing Mexicans, and the Russian Thistle / Salsala Targus (tumbleweed).
This ongoing work responds to specific local narratives associated with displacement, colonization, and the environment. In each iteration, new objects are substituted for the tumbleweed, and new associations are brought into the design in order to engage ecological and cultural concerns specific to that landscape, time, or event. The most recent presentation at 30Upstairs used the road-worker’s uniform to authorise an action that was unauthorised by the city council, or any other authority other than my own. This revealed similar tensions to those experienced at Stanford University, where occupancy of public space becomes highly regulated, and is associated with lower status, gypsy or squatting practices.
PSi19 'Now Then: performance and temporality' / Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA / 26-30 June 2013
The Performance Series 2014 / 30Upstairs Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand / 8-9 December 2014
(with Rob Appierdo and Stuart Foster)
A message from tomorrow, Time Capsule occupied a time zone ahead of most of the presenters participating in the Low Lives 2 International Internet Festival of Performance Art, curated by US based Jorge Rojas. The work was installed outside The Old Museum and National War Memorial in Wellington, New Zealand. Passers by asked to state the date and time before providing a short verbal message in response to the question “What would you like to tell the past?” Meanwhile, numerous smoke machines and hazers hidden in the architecture filled the space with billows of smoke and mist, thus turning the space into a ghostly, otherworldly cityscape that suggested an indeterminate, or slightly precarious future. The work was a play on the distance that currently persists between different time zones and cultures, provoking contemplation on the attitudes that cause us to disregard the livelihood of future generations and geographically distanced communities.
Low Lives 2 / The Old Museum Building, Wellington, New Zealand / 1 May 2010
View video here: Time Capsule
SAM TRUBRIDGE PERFORMANCE ART