31st December 2019
Galera's Plaza Mayor, Granada (Spain)
New Year is a special time because we look both backwards and forwards; taking stock of the year we are leaving behind, and making resolutions for the year ahead.
This time-specific piece took place after the midday tolls of Galera's church bell, and was created especially to mark the start of 2020. Playing with these numbers, the piece was composed by 20 lists accompanied by 20 poetic actions. The title also made a deliberate wink to foresight and clairvoyance, by echoing the expression ‘20/20 vision’.
Whilst the loud textual delivery and its incantatory repetitions had echoes of prophecy-telling, the piece was not prescriptive and resisted to be truly fixed. As the completely unrehearsed actions were performed for the first and only time, the title of each list was repeated 20 times. By keeping the contents of each list and enigma, the piece encouraged audience members to privately complete each list for themselves.
After each combination of list-title and action, the public joined in a communal count from zero to 20, marking the end of one section and the start of the next.
The piece was full of ups and downs, swings and roundabouts: from the absurd to the nostalgic, from the precarious to the mundane. Operating as a springboard for the audience towards a multiplicity of meanings, the piece sought to open up a meditative space where they were invited to ponder the year ahead.
It used a performance vocabulary indebted to Dada and Fluxus, straddling formalist and subversive attitudes, and seeking to cultivate the audience’s subjectivity. Actions were direct and visceral, ranging from everyday gestures, to surreal tasks. The domestic objects used, the public square location, and the audience’s involvement in the counting brought a further sense of closeness and camaraderie.
This New Year piece, continues my ongoing practice research on the musicality of lists, the materiality of objects, and the structure of litanies as an expressive framework. It also happened to be my first ever performance conceived and performed in Spanish.
Documented by Guillermo Alcalá-Santaella
20 x 20
swings x roundabouts
20 lists 20 actions
20 things we need to leave in the past
20 things that will happen again this year
20 things that will be hard lessons this year
20 things we'll win this year
20 things we'll longingly remember this year
20 things we will for ever forget his year
20 things that will get us excited this year
20 things that'll be an uphill struggle this year
20 things we'll thoroughly enjoy this year
20 things we'll lose for ever this year
20 things we'll manage to get back this year
20 things we'll regret this year
20 things that will leave us speechless this year
20 things that will make our blood boil this year
20 lies we'll fall for this year
20 unexpected discoveries this year
20 defeats this year
20 tragedies this year
20 miracles this year
20 victories against all odds this year