"Separate" a screaMachine 2005 proposal for:
9th Annual D.U.M.B.O.
Art Under the Bridge Festival

"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 a live mixed video featuring both.
A performer in white coveralls, pulling a weighted milk crate, drags this burden around within the confines of the performance area. He carries a video projector strung around his neck, that projects animations onto the ground ahead of him. The performer slowly drags his burden round and round the location. He is illuminated from above by video projections which form a large pool of light which is 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. The end result is a constant mixing and remixing of the images of the live performer and the animated character.
Projected from above onto the ground, forming the
performance space, is a timelapse movie showing the
performer lying naked on a bed of newspapers (shot from above) whilst illuminated by the same animated footage used in this performance. 12 hours are reduced in time to 1 hour, which is then looped.
This 12 hour performance took placed in the ISCP in Midtown earlier this year
is a performance series that mixes technology with live action performance. The struggle of the performer, as he wanders in 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" 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 The trials of nature have all but been replaced by human constructs, especially in the Western world, so the struggle for survival becomes a struggle to fit in to society and to function as befits a productive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.
Map of D.U.M.B.O. area featuring location of installation


© Gearóid Dolan, 2004. All rights reserved