Blackboard Performance

Blackboard Performance


Blackboard Performance 2006

This performance was based on the dynamics of the relationship that we share, in a creative working environment. In sharing a studio, we spend much of our time together in silence, writing, or discussing concepts for our own work. Our relationship is a balance of dependence and separation; we rely on each other for the creative process but have distinctly contrasting ways of thinking. With this in mind, we produced a work that expressed our interaction visually.

Locating ourselves in our studio space, we placed a thin blackboard between us, removing each other from view completely. For one hour, we wrote consistently and uninterrupted, noting every thought and idea that came to mind. Although we could not communicate visually or verbally, the acknowledgement of each others presence, by the pressure on the board, the sound of the writing and the tension of balancing and supporting the board was clearly expressive.

While we had discussed this concept thoroughly, we did not expect the outcome of the experience, and intensity of the action. Being two strong-minded, focused individuals, we found it difficult to give up control to each other, and allow for mutual support of the surface. The result was an aggressive power struggle, a battle of wills and intentions. The expressions of control and submission were seen clearly in the movements and vulnerability of the thin blackboard, its masking effect allowed us to react to the force and aggression, rather than the visual awareness and acknowledgement of each other.

Though neither of us had knowledge of each other’s writing content, we found ourselves writing to each other, about each other. Spectators of the performance noticed this unseen communication, and the similarities of our text. This allowed them to become integral to the performance, as they had the visual knowledge of each of our solitary expressions, and could move around the interaction. Their silent, all-knowing presence heightened our responses.