"(Gotta) Keep it up!" a multimedia performance by screaMachine features a set of dumbbells with 7" TV screens as the weights. These screens are wireless, showing two synchronized videos transmitted from nearby stations. The artist attempts to hold the dumbbells over his head for the entire length of the video content. A thin wire connects the bar of the dumbbells, via a pulley mounted overhead, to the artist's genitals. Lowering the dumbbells would cause a wire noose to tighten and emasculate him. The artist must maintain his macho stance in order to preserve his masculinity. Mass media images of virility and male stereotyping play on the TV screens, supported by a pair of audio tracks.
The length of the performance is determined by the length of the two synced videos which are designed to last just longer than the artist could feasibly hold the dumbbells overhead. The artist's natural instinct to protect his genitals, and the psychological pressure generated by the media clips for him to maintain his macho stance, create an untenable position.
Two video projectors, set opposite each other, light the performer with the same images visible on the TV screens. These images, which wrap around his body, dancing on his naked flesh, are not readable, but are recognizable as parts of the TVs' images by their movements and colors. He is clad in this elusive iconography and weighted down by their distinct (TV) counterparts. The performer must "keep it up", a term associated with paranoid fears of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. As long as he can "keep it up" he retains his public image, in full knowledge that it can only last so long. While many men get away with deceiving onlookers and even the closest of friends and lovers of their machismo, the performer must eventually concede failure to his audience and verbally request that he be released from his burden. An audience member, hopefully, acquiesces and cuts the wire with a nearby pair of snips. The performer may then lower his dumbbells and exit the area.

© Gearóid Dolan, 2004. All rights reserved