Yesterday I tried (sections of) fiction. Today I will try ever-so-slight slippages into a hallucinatory – and therefore semi-fictional – world and then back to the ‘reality’ of the performances in front of me. Hallucinations in italics. A large structure covered in black cloth, perhaps a kind of walkway out of the pool. Title: To traverse a pool poetically. (*****Etienne Boulanger*****) Introduction about the history of pole-jumping: to jump over ridges, to jump over hedges, to jump over savage beasts. The legend: the king escaped by pole-jumping over a bull. People in the audience yelling out translations for a French word I didn’t hear, is it: homage? tribute? The performance will be in tribute to this historical escape of a king in leaping conversation with bull. The savage beast is a tennis match, a fire engine, a cartoon spinning out of control from one desert to the next. Putting a black cloth over his head, then tossing it off. Lowering a small tree from the ceiling. Fixing a rope from the top of the black cloth to a post on the other side of the pool, ducking under the black cloth, pressing up from underneath it. In the background, the hanging tree sways slightly in front of its own shadow. Under the black cloth he is turning a crank we can hear but not see. As the crank is turned the rope tightens until taught. The sound of the crank is like a fever, an exclamation point, a car crash. As he pulls the crank the staircase is lifted from its moorings, becomes more and more upright. He is cranking himself straight like some constructivist tower, until the black cloth tower is completely upright and then, when vertical, keeps going, tipping over the other way and the audience laughs in nervous alarm that the structure might not hold. Slow, cranking pole-jumping that suggests some tower of babel. How to traverse a pool in a poetic manner. The possibility that the mechanism might jam. Before, when all computers were made of gears and mirrors, operated by hidden men with gears that only they could turn, were computers more or less a functional part of the natural world. With a knife cutting himself out of the black cloth, atop of a tall tower in the middle of the pool, cutting the cloth away to reveal a red, flat structure, hanging there limp atop the flat red pole. He pulls at a pink rope and the floating tree awkwardly, slowly flies towards him, grabbing the tree by the stem and, with scissors – now I’m unsure exactly what he cut, I missed it – cranking himself backwards towards the other side, precarious, reaching the other side, a tower-lever, a metronome with only one slow tick, that has arduously swung from one side of the pool to the other, as the small tree hangs upside down in the middle. Pulling on another pink string as the upside down tree, halfway across the room, accidentally falls to the ground, and is passed hand-to-hand for the rest of its journey. A man crosses the room on a giant flat red metronome arm and a tree crosses (most of) the way in mid-air. A metronome that is used not for music but for medicine, for chess, to generate non-lethal forms of magic electricity. I’m afraid of clowns. A clown with many bows. (Or are they giant bow ties?) Green, red and blue bows. (*****Belinda Campbell*****) Very still at the end of the pool. Sound cue quietly begins. Music: Ravel’s Bolero? (Why have I developed this difficulty identifying well-known music? At first I thought it was from the Nutcracker but was later, the next day, corrected.) Hand gently puling one bow straight. Two hands squeezing one red bow, one hand pulling at a blue bow. Turning all the bows vertical one at a time. A strip of vertical coloured bows from head to toe. One million clowns on fire running in circles as a message from the future as to what we are doing. What we are doing is often not funny hence the fire, but if we accept burning as our permanent condition than what we are doing must have a certain comedy to it. Hell is other clowns. Bending slowly backwards – hip-hop style? – back arched, back almost touching the ground. Upright again, one bow in her teeth, rubbing her body all over, green bow in front of her face. Rubbing her body all over sending the bows off kilter as she slowly lowers into the splits. I know for a fact I can’t do the splits. I wonder, of the handful of people reading this, how many of them can actually do the splits? A survey with no purpose. On the ground, covered in bows, rubbing herself. How does one have sex with an empty swimming pool? How do clowns have sex with other clowns? How do clowns have sex with politicians or political theorists? On the ground, curled over, rocking ever so slightly, covered in bows, then pressing herself up into a seated position. I just noticed her really big, patent leather clown shoes. How the fuck could I have missed them, they’re so big? Big shoes, big anxiety, big neurosis. Rolling up one pant leg to reveal a fleshy leg underneath, rolling up the other pant leg, so her clown pants become a kind of brightly coloured diaper, as she arches herself into a crab then into standing, a brightly coloured jumble of cloth on two fleshy, shaking legs, revealing her face, shaking legs, shaking. Speak the truth even if your (clown) voice shakes. Pose from a kitsch painting, pose after pose. One million painters on fire painting the past’s vision of the future and the future’s vision of the past. A painter photographing a painter painting a photographer. A big clown shoe scratching a naked leg. Empty pocket pose, nothing in my pockets, not a clown-cent, nothing in the world would make me put you there. Pulling the clown diaper right up to her neck as the Bolero drums just keep cracking, Bolero strings, Bolero horns, diaper up over her head. What is the name for all those satin-y colours, clown colours, a colourful blob of gelatinous struggling clown blob, gyrating clown blob, moshing clown blob, echoing into a dancing Easter egg, gyrating Easter egg, moshing Easter egg, music getting louder. Raining colourful Easter eggs that smash acidically against the football field ground. Kicking off one clown shoe then the next. Clown blob slowly expanding like a balloon, legs hip width apart, standing there majestically. Blackout. The next performance also begins with a blackout. The performer outside the big round window, pressed against it, everyone craning their necks to look. (*****Tomasz Szrama*****) When the lights come back on no one knows where to look or what will happen next. A ladder is being carried into the pool. A straight ladder, raised vertically up towards the ceiling, leaned against something up near the top. A piece of wood used to shim the ladder. I realized when I reached the other continent that all the citizens of this land had one leg that was longer and another that was ever so slightly shorter. A thin black rope, a white and blue striped rope, a pulley. Starting to climb up the ladder but it is definitely not steady, trying again. Climbing up the ladder with the rope in his teeth. “He’s the master of knots, I trust him.” Tying the blue and white striped rope to a balustrade. (Is that actually what a balustrade is?) The pulley holding the black rope now centered along the ceiling, hanging in the middle of the space. In my fever I saw the walls and the beams of the house made of rope and made of ice. The ladder is now taken away. Now a pause as we all wonder what will happen. Will he pull himself, or something else, up towards the ceiling using the black rope and the pulley? Appearing at the far end of the pool with a small table and chair, carrying the table on his back around the pool and in. The table and chair are now facing us, the black rope hanging just behind them. There have been so many ropes at this festival. I feel rope and ropes must tell us something profound about what it means to be alive today. None of these ropes have anything to do with hanging. What is that Destroyer lyric: “No man has ever hung / from the rafters of a second home.” A suitcase and two plastic bags full of oranges and cucumbers (I think.) Later I realize there were no cucumbers, mainly just oranges, apples and the occasional grapefruit. A small knife is placed on the table. A single apple falls out of the bag, rolls slowly down the slanted floor of the pool in an exaggerated zig zag. Dumping an entire bag of oranges and apples on the ground as they all zig zag roll down. But not the two bananas. A green apple and a red apple, giving the red one to an audience member, standing on the chair, biting into the green apple, eating the green apple standing on the chair. And in this strange land they ate not sitting around the table, but around the table instead each standing on their own chair. It can take a long time to eat a single green apple. Placing the apple core on the table. With the knife, cutting into a red apple. While I was typing I missed something that made a few audience members laugh. Now cutting many apples in half. Cutting a grapefruit in half. Placing the two halves of the grapefruit one in each pant pocket, pushing them down into the bottom of the pockets so the juice is squeezed, leaks into his knees. Inefficient ways to make juice. Same thing with the next orange. Cutting more oranges and more grapefruits in half then bringing out a large saw. Sawing a grapefruit in half then sawing straight into the table, placing the table on its side and sawing two table legs shorter than the other two. There have been relatively few hallucinations. Placed back upright, the table is a table on which round things can only roll off. A glass juicer appears and an audience member in a red dress is asked to press the performer’s head against the half grapefruit that is pressed against the glass juicer that is pressed against the table with two legs sawed shorter than the other two that is pressed against the wall of the pool. I’m sure there is a simpler way to describe this maneuver. An extremely small amount of juice has now been produced and is poured into a glass, more oranges are juiced in a more conventional manner until the glass is full. Michelle is invited into the pool to sit at the slanted table. An apple is nailed into the table so it doesn’t roll off. It takes many nails. Looking for volunteers. “I will need people with strength: six people, seven.” Sitting on the ground and tying the black rope around his ankles. Handing Michelle the full glass of juice. Placing a ‘bubble level’ on the table, the table with two legs sawed shorter than the other two. Handing the other end of the rope that goes over the pulley to the six volunteers. “You lift me very slowly, you tell them when is the moment to stop (when the table is level), put the glass on the table, drink the juice.” Lifted up, hanging upside down, grasping the apple nailed to the table with his teeth so it rises up with him until the table is level.