Writer/Director: Anita Rochon
Reviewer: Gareth Davies
How does it feel, knowing your very existence hurts the planet you live on? It’s a big question, and an apposite one, as the impact of our species on the Earth comes under ever closer scrutiny. It’s the question Anita Rochon asks in this performance art work with grand ambition but all the substance of Scotch mist.
Rochon is trying to reduce her impact on the world by flying less, so every day a different guest performer steps up in her place, standing before a green screen and interpreting her instructions the way a weather presenter interprets meteorological information.
It’s a fun concept, relying on the guest performer’s capacity to improvise and respond speedily to the material, but the reality more often leaves the guest wobbling bemusedly, with an obvious lack of confidence in (or understanding of) what is being presented. Entire sections don’t involve the performer at all, and those that do offer little space for meaningful involvement amongst the pre-recorded content.
There are bright spells of interest – who knew that storms given male names result in fewer casualties? But the overwhelming feeling is of watching a yawnsome 1970s Open University lecture, with intriguing questions about ‘pathetic fallacy’ – the imposition of human emotions onto non-human subjects – getting lost in a fog of discussion that features her father’s crab apple bushes, Marcel Marceau, and Rochon’s ex-boyfriend (who wasn’t really called Paul).
Smart thought the technical aspect of the show may be, Rochon’s commentary lacks much in the way of engaging personality. Greater impact may have been gained had she participated live via audio relay – a brief telephone conversation with the guest performer at the end of the show offers a moment of actual human interaction that only highlights what has been absent from the pre-recorded, cut-and-paste slideshow content.
Runs until 25 August 2019 (not 5, 12 or 19) | Image: Contributed