YOU MUST FOLLOW ME CAREFULLY
Part live event, part documentation, part fragmented memory.
Influenced by Fluxus, performance and conceptual art, “You must follow me carefully” is a series that interrogates the notion of “experience,” “authenticity” and “re-mediation.” In particular, it is a series that is underpinned by a theoretical consideration of the relationship between the live event and its documents.
“You must follow me carefully” is not only the title, but also a directive I employ in relation to my participants. In a participatory and experimental situation, gallery-goers are invited to read aloud a text of their choice—how they want, for as long as they want. The participants perform individually, but also as a group. Actions are spontaneous and infectious. A shout provokes a song; a jerk of the body provokes someone else to lie down; a slow drawl is matched by snores. Each participant negotiates the task, the space, the sound, and the other people. These interactions—the “in between things”—constitute the performance. I stand amidst the cacophony of voices, churning out a hand-written record of the events as they unfold. Framed by my point of attention and subject to my fatigue, this task of real-time documentation is both a performance and its tangible manifestation.
While “You must follow me carefully” is based primarily around live performative situations, the documentation (audio recordings and hand-written transcripts) is a vital component of the series. The accumulated documentation becomes the artwork in its own right as an evolving installation. The hand-written transcripts cascade from the walls, each demarking a physical trace of time within the durational series. The audio, layered and looped as a sound installation, intersects with each new live performance—collapsing the distinction between “now” and “then.”
“You must follow me carefully” was first performed at Firstdraft Depot, Sydney. Thereafter, the series was performed at Inflight ARI, Hobart; Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney; and Sawtooth ARI, Launceston. The duration of each performative iteration was determined by the participants. “You must follow me carefully” is primed for multiplicity by setting out to deliberately blur the distinction between the live and the recorded. Here there is no criterion for the “true” experience, no single location where the artwork resides.
It is a performative series that asks you to follow carefully. Then take the lead.