Pomps of the Subsoil 2015

Performance presented at Festival Escena Poble Nou, Barcelona with Lesley Yendell, Juliette Murphy, Natàlia Espinet, Denys Blacker, Montse Seró y Mireia Zantop. Photos by Claudia Serrahima.

Ocells al Cap met in the hall where they would be performing in Poble Nou, Barcelona. They have each come prepared to make a ninety-minute performance with their own objects and props. The title Pomps of the Subsoil was taken from a painting by the painter Leonora Carrington, chosen because it portrays a group of bird-headed women, but they are not using it as a reference in the work. Each artist has prepared their own individual performance alone, but now we will present them together in the same space. They had no contact or communication between them beforehand about what each one was going to do.

They began working simultaneously, unpacking their bags, while watching each other as an array of objects began to appear in the space. There was an air of positive anticipation, a good feeling. Lesley had brought a tray of small beautifully tied white paper parcels, labelled with the royal names of vegetables. Juliette was covered by a dark blue cloak. Later during the performance when she took it off, we see she was covered in more than eighty small, white origami birds, a dark blue wimple tied to her head by a mass of black ribbon. Mireia took out a white cloth and lay out a row of pale wooden kitchen objects, then a ball of white raffia. She placed a stainless steel bowl full of coins onto a zebra-striped cushion. Montse had brought dried leaves and was wearing blue. She had blue bags full of blue feathers hanging round her neck. Denys had brought white objects and on the floor around her she placed two long, white cloth sleeves, a woven length of white porcelain strips, a white porcelain cone on a red velvet cushion, two planks of wood, a ball of white wool, one white cushion, scissors, a hammer, string and nails. Natalia opened her suitcase and revealed two red notebooks, some pens and a copy of The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard. She had several dresses, red and black. They couldn’t help noticing that the majority of the objects spaced around the room were white or pale. Marta was absent, but she had written an email beforehand. When they read it afterwards, they see that she was planning to bring ‘white offerings for each one; flour for Lesley, salt for Mireia, sugar for Denys, and talcum powder for Madame Juliette’.

One of the objectives of working together is to develop the intra-connections between us. We are hoping to increase the efficacy of nonverbal communication and looking for the possibility of the telepathic transferal of ideas and thoughts. We look for synchronicities in the material and the performances as signs of this happening. Of course it is possible that we will just become more and more familiar with the group aesthetic and end up making a particular kind of work, where we predict with accuracy what the others will do. In whichever case, we are interested to observe how the work of each individual might change over time. We are not trying to prove a pseud-scientific theory, rather to observe and to note the effects of working together as a group on the individual works and on our communication and interaction.

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