Aggression @ Cooper Union 2007
15 minute performance
Aggression 2007 is an updated remixed version of the series of Aggression performances done in the late 1980's and early 90's. It features a blindfolded, naked performer suspended between 2 video projections. A group of viewers hold a bar keeping the performer suspended. The left video projection features american war footage made in the 80's on super 8 film and on VHS from the early 90's, including the "Gulf War". The right projection screen features digital video footage from the ongoing war in Iraq. Three monitors on the floor behind the performer show animated footage from 3 major anti-war protests in New York in 2003/2004. A digital photo print on fabric, depicting multiple grayscale american flags lies beneath the performer and forms the resting place for the start and end of the performance. A 15 minute soundtrack accompanies.
The performance starts with the bound and blindfolded performer lying on the fabric print on the ground. Monitors and screens show video static. Viewers enter the room and a group of them is asked to take hold of the bar. A countdown is heard and an assistant pulls on the rope raising the performer into the center of the projections, lit from both sides and casting full body shadows on each screen. Once in place the assistant attaches the rope to the bar held by the viewers and walks away. The performer is held in this position for the duration of the performance. As time goes by the performer moves and wriggles to minimize pain and stress and prolong his ability to endure the situation. After the videos and soundtrack are finished, the screens return to video static and the assistant unhooks the rope and lowers the performer, who remains on the ground till the static ends.

The performer is illuminated by the video information and is situated in an environment of moving images. He is present in both video screens by the absence of video information, replaced by live, moving information on the performer, in the form of his shadow. The soundtrack and videos provide an immersive visual and aural space that informs the situation the performer is in, with sampled footage related to the american war machine and a score created from audio samples gleaned from american tv, of mundane phrases, jingles and non-sequiturs, backed by heavy, throbbing bass and heavy breathing, rhythmic panting. The war screens, large and dominating, are countered in miniature by the 3 monitors on the ground depicting the war protest movement. The printed flags on fabric form an iconic "home" for the performer.

Bound and blindfolded, with his life in the hands of others and bombarded by images of aggression, the performer abides the situation. Endures the process. All movements are for the purpose of maintaining, no acting or embellishments. He remains silent and passive.



© Gearóid Dolan, 2008. All rights reserved