I HAVE TO LEAVE
I began the second evening’s program at the Blow! 8 International Performance Art Festival, in Ilsede, Germany, curated by Dr. Helge Meyer for Ideenstiftungsverein e.V. I chose to work outside in the park surrounding the venue, a former electric converter station. It was now an open expanse of fields, with trees in the distance.
I wore a red dress, and was ready before the audience arrived, mingling with them as they came into the building, talking with friends and meeting others. Then I led them to a location in the field near the building. I held or shook everyone’s hand, saying hello.
Once everyone had all gathered and I had finished greeting each of them, I said,
“I have to leave now. And I am sorry, but you can’t follow me. You have to stay here.”
With that, I began very slowly to move backwards. And as I moved away from them, I took a seed packet from my bag and began sowing a line of poppy seeds.
I walked backwards for two hours, dropping a continuous line of seeds, disappearing into the distance across the field. My red dress stood out against the green of the grass in the soft light of the end of day.
The audience watched me become smaller and smaller over the hours. They went to see other performances, and then returned again to see the progress of my disappearance. I, as well, saw them become tinier and tinier in the distance, until finally we were no longer visible to each other.
If the seeds grow, a line of red poppies will appear across the landscape next summer, spreading further each year, making it a truly durational performance.