Separate performance/installation

"Separate - a multi-media installation and performance piece addressing issues of homelessness and disenfranchisement - was a confrontational and technically challenging work which took place in the newly renovated Nun’s Island theatre space belonging to the G.A.C. A nude performer (Gearoid Dolan a.k.a. ScreaMachine) dragged a burden over a 40 hr period around the performing space, sleeping intermittently on a pile of newspapers. The struggle for survival became a struggle with technological complexity as represented in Dolan’s sophisticated layering of visuals (including those from a projector suspended from his neck). This projected stark, Beckettian scenes of a homeless person wandering aimlessly in a desolate neo-realist landscape, converging on the surrounding walls with images of Dolan’s live-action movements. The performance proved to be an intense climax to the season" Katherine Waugh, 2006

"Separate" is a multimedia installation/performance that addresses issues of homelessness and disenfranchisement. It serves as metaphor for the many burdens of the human condition that are experienced by each of us alone. It raises issues about the burden of trying to exist in an increasingly technological society, where identity is reliant on participation. It comprises a set of animations, a performance and live mixed videos featuring both.

A nude performer, pulling a weighted milk crate, drags this burden around the enclosed space. He carries a video projector strung around his neck, that projects animations onto the ground ahead of him. The performer is illuminated from above by video projections which form the performance area. On adjacent walls we see, projected, the animations of a wandering homeless person in a desolate landscape, mixed live with footage of the performer in the space and footage from other incarnations of Separate. The result is a constant mixing and remixing of the images of the performer and the animated character. After a period of wandering within the performance space, the performer rests for the night in the pool of projected light, with newspapers for bedding. Performance continues within the space the following day and night.

"Separate"is a performance series that mixes technology with live action performance. The struggle of the performer, as he wanders the streets or a confined space, is enhanced by the animated imagery projected onto the ground ahead of him. Images of individual struggle are projected into this live scene of a man pulling a weight. With the metaphorical weight of the world in tow, the performer makes slow progress in solitude.

"Separate" also provides a metaphor for struggles of mankind against the world of their creation. To be human is to struggle with the human condition, but it is also to struggle to exist physically within the constructs of mankind... even the most far removed tribal communities are effected by, and interconnected with, world affairs, the internet, cell phones and other technological achievements. The trials of nature have all but been replaced by human constructs, especially in the Western world, so the struggle for survival becomes a struggle to fit in to society and to function as befits a productive member of the community. While we all experience a degree of personal isolation, those outside of society suffer an isolation uniquely extreme; the struggle to survive within the system is doubled by the rejection inherent in that system; personal isolation is compounded by physical, technological and financial isolation.

Like a modern Sisyphus, or Beckett's iconic walkers, the performer is locked into a pattern of endlessly moving a weight, a burden, while surrounded by reminders of his status and the workings of the machine that provides his burden. He may rest from time to time, but when he arises, the pattern continues, rest being just another phaze of the pattern.

© Gearóid Dolan, 2004. All rights reserved