White noise under waterfall

Performance type: 
action sonore
Description: 
Dressed in white, Anna is standing facing a staircase at the exit of an access to the basement of the Villa Arson. The audience is at the top of the stairs and along the low wall used as a parapet. A heavy stream of water falls from a gutter further up directly on Anna Byskov's head. She is soaked, her clothes are transparent. She marches in place swinging her arms while hypnotically staring in front of her. In silence she does that for a few minutes. Then with a loud voice she announces the steps as if she was climbing them, or wanted to climb them: "1st step… 2nd step… 3rd steps…" She stares at them. Sometimes she falls in her discourse as if she fell from the steps and starts the statement again: "1st step… 2nd step…" The hesitations, the pauses, the exhaustion of the body and the voice are more or less important between the announcement of the steps.

Again she climbs the steps to go back two or three times once going up to the 6th step. The waterfall still directed on her head, stunning rather than relaxing and massaging. She continues to march in place swinging her arms.

Finally, after a climb in the discourse up to the 7th step, she tilts her head back and receives the water stream straight in her face. It seems that water enters through her mouth. She straightens her head stares at the steps as a necessity to concentrate, moves forward and climbs the steps one after the other determined to finally get out of the "whole" and split though the crowd in silence. The audience applauds.
I am on the very premises, I have a perplex look, anxious awaiting something. I am dressed with white bell bottoms and a white polo shirt. I am not wearing any make-up, I have nothing very attractive. A stream starts, the flow is low. After a few minutes, in silence, the impact of the stream becomes stronger on my head: an allusion to torture and lobotomization methods I try to escape by counting the number of steps that will have to be climbed.

Initially, I wanted to be dull in my "grey hole." Water is inevitably going to reveal the body while I am undergoing torture. Do we linger on the fact that the body is visible or do tension, suffering and the suspense of escape take over?

When I am getting the water in my mouth, I divert the function of water. It is no longer an element of torture but on the contrary, a regeneration, an energy, to help me get out of this hell. I am positioning myself as a hero collecting strength before acting.

I am paying an homage to "Sisyphus," a play by Heidseick where he gets out of breath while climbing floors: "First step, second step, third step, pfewww… »
Creator: 
Anna Byskov
Performer: 
Anna Byskov
Theoretical background: 
Anna Byskov revisits a remedy to chill out and relax: the simulation of white noise. The triggering element for the performance is a waterfall that will be reactivated. Split between the Danish, English and Swiss cultures and languages, she is someone who often looks for words… Her work evolves also in the blurry zones of nonsense, misinterpretation or "anti-sense:" the absurd always ending up taking over.

Performance carried out in a specific context: here naming the steps one after the other and counting them while standing under a waterfall challenging the usual use of speech: breathing, clear mind (the drumming of water on the head preventing it), hyperventilation, also an allusion to torture and lobotimization methods.
Occurence: 
Places: 
Starting date: 
05 21 2011
2011/05/21-16:457 minutes
Topology: 
Organization: 
Adress: 
20, avenue Stephen Liégeard
en bas de l'escalier extérieur donnant accès au Grand amphithéâtre
Nice
France
Objets: 
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