- Live Art Falmouth
- South West England
Towards a stone corner. A tripod table. Acetate violence pit bull teeth clash, skin and scruffs of necks punctured and clamped. Blood and saliva monochrome. Hackles raised and black eyes. Dead dogs pinned to wood and still. It is hot and there is no breeze.
Devlin sits on an adjacent chair arms flexed like a boxer. Bent over he divides the hair on the back off his head with tending fingers slow. A jagged scar is revealed on a bare white scalp. Disinfectant is poured over the scar and runs over the head, off the brow and into a trophy that dangles around the neck silver and black. The sterilizing fluid cleans and burns the eyes. No threat of infection, the bull pit and the wounds are prepared.
Live Art allows artists to disseminate their practice in the public domain. Encounter and intimacy figure in an art form that attests to the physical and spatial materiality of the body. The mundane and the everyday are re-examined and re-configured, and actions intensified. We become witnesses to trans(ag)gressive rituals. We watch and are implicated into scenes of obsession, purging, working through and re-working, remembering and repeating. Devlin’s demotic gestures are idiosyncratic descriptions of masculine crisis. Anger, fear, and futility are entrenched in a visual poetics of impending violence…the black bananas that lie upon the surface of the table testify to loss and impotence.
Raised hackles, the eyes are black. Shoulders are taut while both hands grasp the table. Pushing and falling. Barking and spitting. Screaming at the spectators who watch helplessly as Devlin slowly unpacks a black plastic bag. Fresh banana bunches are accumulated slowly and with great care. The stump of the missing table leg is placed in the mouth and sucked. A threat of sexual violence. Libidinal tensions are pursued by anxiety. We will the next action for Devlin’s sake, his submission and vulnerability is too exposed and the desire to project further violence onto his body becomes unbearable. The pain and helplessness of ‘standing by’ is distressing yet stimulating.
Following Devlin and the table up the hill. We come to a halt. A gasmask, a raised umbrella and a fire extinguisher coordinate an apocalyptic end image, a hero masked, a spectre, a survivor, a fucked-up Mary Poppins testifying to the horror of forces malevolent. The air may be poisoned. As his hand strikes the lever on the canister Devlin and the audience disappear in a mushroom cloud of powder.
Whiteout. Attendant seagulls screech.