Unfolding Working Utopias

As an experiment in representing insights from the project, we re-assembled various materials and outcomes into a performative presentation at Zeppelin University in November 2018. This performance constituted a piece of embodied research, in which knowledge from different points of our project materialised. Different elements were co-present in space but only loosely connected. This co-existence without pre-determining their respective relations opened up the possibility to interconnect them in multiple ways and to explore the various dimension of our project.

The performance was tailored for a specific room at Zeppelin University.

poetic text
paper size 4x4m
folded paper object
two performer
mattresses and cushions for the audience

When the audience enters the room, the room is relatively dark. They are invited to find a place on matrasses and comfortable cushions.
The different elements of the performance were distributed across the room. A big piece of paper was spread out next to a projection screen that ran a video with altered sound, playing birds’ twittering. The technological infrastructure of the performance was visible (beamer, loudspeaker, computer). The paper object laid flat on the floor across the room and was not immediately visible. The two performers were sitting on respective ends of the room waiting for the audience to settle.

One performer gets up and starts folding the large, spread-out paper, while the video shows people lying in a circle in the grass, having an inaudible conversation. One only hears bird sounds and the sound of paper. After some time, the second performer takes the microphone and begins reading the poem starting with “I hope”.
During the reading and folding, the bird sounds
change into the sound of crickets and after a while back to birds’ twittering again, which gives a sense of a different time passing than the actual duration of the performance.
At the end of the video a second part starts.

While one performer switched from video to a writing program, the other performer walks across the room to the folded paper object and picks it up. While she explores the different foldings and unfoldings of the object, the other performer starts writing the second part of the poetic text. Now one only hears the folding of the paper and the clicking sounds of the keyboard.
The paper object and the performer increasingly morph into one another. The object seems to swallow the performer, while it transforms into a shelter or possibly a creature that hovers on the ground? The other performer keeps on writing.

At a certain point the performer seems to gain control again, lifting the crumbled paper over her head and walks across the room, passing through the projection of the writing. On the side of the room where she started to fold paper, she gradually disentangles her body from the object. The other performer ends writing text. The object slowly sinks to the ground, where it still remains in motion for some time until it finds rest. In its unfolded state it remains a visible object in space.
The two performers abandon their site of work and return to their respective position of the beginning.