A TRANSCONTINENTAL LAWSUIT AND THE QUESTIONING LIGHTS
I performed as a mediator of information throughout the act of translation. This performance had a strong political charge and was non-entertaining but informative, conceptual, and aesthetic. In an auditorium I projected a documentary of an interview by LaMula.pe with the Peruvian economist Jose DeEchave. The video was unedited and unchanged. I simply translated the dialogue in the interview. It dealt with a lawsuit filed by the mining company Doe Run against Peru. This lawsuit was appealing to the legal stipulations contained in the Free Trade Agreement between Peru and the USA. It revealed the consequences of the Free Trade Agreement on the Peruvian’s legal system, on its population’s health, and on its environment. After the video projection, the lights went off. Then I turned only one spotlight on a small group of people. I turned it off as I turned another spotlight on over a different group. I repeated this action several times. Then I turned two spotlights on at the same time and turned them off as I turned another set of two lights on. I continued this until I had spotlit all the audience in groups, and turned three spotlights on at the same time, and all the lights together at the end. This action of spotlighting small groups of the audience as the rest remained in darkness created a lot of tension. While I performed with the lights, the audience could not see me, but they were able to listen to me while I asked them if they wanted to see me and to talk to me. It was an opportunity for a questioning process together, followed by a conversation with the public in a room closeby regarding the issues dealt with in the video. In the performance, the use of the spotlights influenced the perception of the space and time while emphasizing the materiality of the audience’s bodies as a metaphor of their political personas. This aspect of the performance materialized my concern regarding the communication of responsibility to the audience and with the process of questioning and togetherness. The awareness of responsibilty gained material force thanks to the lights. Thus the body of the performer was replaced within the auditorium by the individual members of the audience as political and social performative bodies.