UNSUBMITTED PROPOSAL FOR 2015 UNDERBELLY ARTS FESTIVAL
One sentence summary of this project
Collaborative duo ek.1 are adrift in a small rowboat on Sydney Harbour – will the audience be content to keep them at a distance?
Short description of your project
The performance consists of a rowboat, 2 artists, a 500 metre rope attached at one end to the bow of the boat and at the other end to a winch on the shore. One pay per view binocular device is securely placed on Cockatoo Island. Each paid viewing through the telescope requires the audience to turn the winch bringing the artists in the boat incrementally closer to shore. If the audience chooses not to engage in the work the artists shall remain adrift for the duration of the Underbelly Arts Festival.
Connection and interaction with audiences is now the central aim of Contemporary Art. Does this mean that the artist is now held hostage to the audiences’ needs and desires to be entertained and enlightened?
Is the artist adrift without this connection, what is at stake for the audience? What role do they play and how committed to the act of witnessing are they, or are they only passive consumers of the artists labor.
Cockatoo Island holds its own history of removal and exclusion, as do the duo ek.1’s own personal histories – Emma a descendant of the stolen generation and Katie a child of the era of forced adoption, when teenage single mothers were given no life rope to keep their children.
ek.1 plans to make apparent the implications of being set adrift, no longer tethered or connected to the mainland of Cockatoo Island.
What role do you see audiences playing in the development of your work?
This performance unfolds in real time and the audience is pivotal in how the work is played out.
The audiences’ role in this performance is two fold. They will be able to pay to view ek.1 adrift in a small row boat, by inserting a dollar coin into a telescope. However at the same time they will be faced with the choice of the price of viewing, each view will require the audience to turn the winch and move the boat closer to shore. The performance ends when one of two things happens, either enough spectators have cranked the winch to pull us to shore, or the festival ends. Here the spectators have the power to bring us to shore or leave us adrift for the entire festival. The duration of the work lies in their hands. Will they be content with keeping us at a distance?