DAY SIX: Laval

octobre 6th, 2013
Jacob Wren

We take a yellow bus to Laval. We arrive somewhere I have never been before. There are two floors. We start upstairs. Two blindfolded figures, facing each other, hand in hand so when they both lean back they are in balance. (*****Anne Parisien & Christian Bujold*****) Pulling apart, blindfolded, wandering. Are they trying to find each other again or are they just walking as we all walk when we cannot see. Pressing against the wall, feeling blindly across the wall. Is the wall a temporary substitute for the lost partner? Coming against a spectator, taking his hand, it’s not the hand of the other blind-folded performer so disappointment and keep wandering. They have wandered away from each other and might now not find their way back. I once took a survey: if you had to give up one of your senses, which one would you give up. I think I said sight, perhaps remembering an elderly philosopher from antiquity who allegedly poked out his eyes so he no longer had to look at the women he could no longer have. But without sight I couldn’t read so maybe I’d give up smell instead. They are blindfolded and apart and will wander like that for hours. We head downstairs. A woman sitting next to a black table. On the table is a very full glass of water. (*****Hugo Gaudet-Dion & Véronique Guitard*****) With one finger she starts to very slowly slide the glass across the table. Behind her a man is sweeping a pile of fine grained sand in the same direction. They are both wearing black shirts and he is wearing a black hat. She is slowly sliding the glass and he is more quickly sweeping the sand but they are in unison, parallel. The sand leaves a trace on the floor and the glass leaves a damp trace on the table. The sand also flies up into the room, creating a slight sandy mist in the air. If it is a race between the glass and the sand they are in a dead heat, but it is not a race, they are travelling in unison, water and earth. But the sand slowly pulls ahead, comes around the corner of the table, and when the glass is finally pushed off the edge, there is a pile of soft sand for it to fall into. The water hitting the sand turns orange, I don’t know why. We go next door, to the next room, where a woman is setting up chairs in front of a large desk. (*****Marie-Claude Gendron*****) She stands on the desk, pulls out some sheets of paper from a panel in the ceiling, pins one blank sheet of paper to the back wall. Now there are four chairs in front of the desk, an audience of four. She holds up one finger and one person comes and sits in the first chair. She holds up two fingers and another person comes and sits in the second chair, etc., until all four chairs are filled. She holds a mallet in front of the paper pinned to the wall, then hangs the mallet on the wall beside the paper, shines a light in the eyes of the audience, opens a window, turns on the air conditioning. We are in her office and she is setting up more chairs. She stands on a chair, pressed into the corner of the room. and awkwardly manipulates a long rubbery stick, pointing it in every direction so it bangs against the ceiling. Then she stands on the back of the chair, pushing herself up into the ceiling, grabbing a hook hooked into the ceiling beam, pushes up another ceiling panel from which she pulls another sheaf of papers. She turns out the light, it is dark and we are done. We were in her office, perhaps seeing what happens after hours when the working day is done and reality begins to slip. Then there is a break, I start talking to people, and manage to write nothing about the remaining performances, we are back on the yellow bus and I am back in Montreal. Now I will try to finish from memory. See if you can tell the difference. Two women dressed in identical white dresses, each dragging behind them some sort of large white water pump. (*****Jean-Sébastien Vague: Jade Barrette & Sophie Rondeau*****) Around each of their necks they have an identical black utilitarian accessory, somewhere between a neck pillow to help you sleep on airplanes and a fashion collar. Attached to this accessory is a nozzle. When they press down the water pumps always by their side, the nozzle sprays them with a fine mist. There is also make up, so much make up, and I wanted to ask them what exactly their relationship was to this make up that sometimes stained their white dresses in bright colours, so many different kinds of colours, but didn’t have a chance. From the website: “Jean-Sébastien Vague is a performative cell that brings together the artists Jade Barrette and Sophie Rondeau. This full name refers to neither of them, but rather a third identity in which they are united and confused as a means of experimenting with the limits of interchangeability and the independence of individuals.” Their presence was a little bit of science fiction, a taste of some slightly off future, following us along from room to room. They are clones who need to constantly moisten their skin because in the future the air will be too dry, in the future make up will be different and necessary for our survival. In the future uniforms will be required. Every utopia goes in search of its perfect dystopia and down into the last room. As I enter, the woman who was previously pushing the glass and the man who was previously brooming the fine sand are standing face to face, holding a yellow popsicle between them. (*****Hugo Gaudet-Dion & Véronique Guitard*****) They press their faces together but the popsicle gets in the way, and they keep pressing towards each other, holding the freezing popsicle which is held up only by their two faces pressing against it as it very slowly melts. You can sense the freezing cold against their faces and it hurts, until the popsicle finally melts enough to fall away to the floor and, frozen obstacle gone, they kiss. A sweet, romantic ending to my first afternoon ever in Laval.

 

 

 

 

 

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