Zone of Abandoned Approaches (2014)

A roving spoken word performance developed during a 3-month social art residency at Agora Collective, Berlin. The text performed reflected on the collaborative process, speculating on the discarded, potential and actual forms the final exhibition took during its development over the residency period. The text was written as an address to the exhibition space of the Institute Cervantes, Berlin, describing the possible realisations of the Agora resident artists' collaborative efforts in each room of the gallery.  

The Zone of Abandoned Approaches - Script

Seminar Room

You were to hold a zone of assembled anticipation.
A managed queue.
A line of mounting frustration.

 

You were to be a labyrinth that led nowhere in particular
A game of false leads articulated by pole and rope. 
An airport experience, terminally determined. 

 

You were to be a presence of absence.
A gallery of floating veils.
Spectral visions of a city’s past projected.
White screens to hide your bland walls so beige
A beautification attempt
An aesthetic makeover.

 

You were to hold a vertical eruption.
An extended pyramid.
A tunnel vision.
A dissected sky.  

 

You were to be the centre of a nervous system.
A diseased body in need of attention.
A zoned therapy
A healing exercise    

 

You were to hold a model audience.
An obedient flock schooled in the social. 
A roving display of ideal interactions
A performed exhibition.
A relational aesthetic.

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You are an anxious space, in need of structure
You are a daunting prospect
Your generous proportions overwhelmed us
We sought ways to make you smaller

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You hold a zone of ambiguous encounters
A wordless exchange
A clay innuendo
An oblong oddity, well lit.    
A return to form
A shared object.

 

You hold a zone of networking
A tabled meeting point
A user-friendly environment
A zone to win friends and influence people
A contained cynicism.

 

You hold a zone of surface appreciation.
A place to observe and be observed
A patch of evergreen lawn, elevated 
A flirtatious spectatorship   
A vantage point.
A raised awareness.

 

You hold a didactic display
An automated screening 
A mechanical ballet
A guided tour
A stock footage enactment

You are in the middle of something

Friedrich II
You were a chance purchase
A souvenir bust for balanced breads
An icon of the touristic experience

 

You were an anecdotal encounter
A Prussian eccentric
A melancholic figurehead
A reluctant war hero
A frustrated intellectual with Daddy issues
A plaster lump coloured with tales of Potsdam Potatoes and closeted desires
A past to connect with in an unfamiliar place. 

 

You haunted group discussion
You were a constant interruption
You inserted yourself into everything
You wouldn’t let us let you go.

You became part of the system.
You are apart and a part of the whole
You are an incorporated anomaly
You are an object subjected.
You have been pimped and gimped and made ridiculous
You are a fringe dwelling figure

You are a welcome distraction.

 

Curtained Area

You were to hold a zone of affected objects.
An animated encounter with the inanimate.
A mirrored display, unfairly treated.
Voices raised in anger
Voices honeyed with love
An entropic salad.

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You are a lounged oasis
You are a curtained respite
You are a faux leather interior

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You hold a zone of the anti-social
A three-way estrangement 
A structured avoidance of others
Lowered blinds and curtains drawn
An awkward silence, comfortably seated

You hold a temporary isolation

Long Hallway Space

You were to hold a zone of projected guilt
A public confessional
Robed wardens to soothe the shamed
A message delivered to the powers that be

 

You were to hold an Othering exercise
An identification process, awash in orange glow
An unfamiliar script read aloud
An empathetic ear
A queer experiment

 

You were to hold a handshake apparatus
Structures to test the kindness of strangers 
A forced engagement
A didactic mingling

 

You were to hold a zone of refuge.
An awkward seating arrangement 
A bathroom escape route.
An enclave for the anti-social
A permission to disengage

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You are a space of transition
You are a long walk on the way to somewhere else
You are an unoccupied entity
You are a problematic illumination
You are not much to look at

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You hold a zone of consensus
The lingering taint of conflicting opinions
Bristling echoes of bruised egos and flared tempers 
Concepts mounted, defended and abandoned - reasoned out of existence
A double gag
An unresolved tension 

 

You hold a zone of self assessment
A white knuckle exercise
A feedback loop
One stickered scale of social ease
One temporary community, feeling together

How are you doing?
How are you doing now?

 

Bar + Reserved Section

You were to hold a waiting game.
An instructed audience, arbitrarily divided 
A critical mass assembled.
A surveyed crowd

 

You were to hold a white goods gallery
A magnetic display, drawn together
A childhood domestic transplanted.
An art without judgment

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You are a starting point
You are a site of fierce contention

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You hold a zone of reservations
A sedentary statement of identity
An extended invitation to a black sheep congress
A poetic code of conduct
A regimented belonging

 

You hold a zone of libations
A charitable wine offering
Rubbed shoulders and twice-pecked cheeks
A place to feel closer through enclosure
A zone of mounting goodwill

 

You hold the beginning of something

 

Front Room Gallery  

You were to hold a zone of token experiences.
A hack market stall
A commercial enterprise
An exit through the gift shop.

 

You were to hold false histories
Fragments of a wall freshly painted the way they like them.
A tragic past made tactile, made tacky, but far from real.

 

You were to be the end of something,
An accumulation of personal affects and assembled objects
A dirty cup of charity accompanied by an expectant mongrel.

 

You were to be an illuminated vitrine
A curious cabinet display.
An archive of sorts.

 

You were to hold a zone of empathic encounters.
Processes of self-assessment, a contextualizing exercise. 
An awkward transition eased by the rough charm of an enthusiastic chaperone.  

 

You were to be the beginning of something.
We were to look inwards before looking outwards
You were to house sliding scales of social uncertainty.

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Your walls can’t build trust.
You are one big mouth.
You are one obnoxious infrastructure.
You are a continuous echo.

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You hold the zone of letting go.
A space for release or withdrawal

You are a zone of amplified emotions
A pair of objects exposed
To the cruel whip of harsh words
Or lavished with affection

 

You hold assembled shame and shared adoration
You hold estranged fruits