i'm sorry [wimh #4] / 2009  ←  

i'm sorry [what's in my head #4] / 2009
VIVA! art action festival / Montreal, canada / 2009 / 24 minutes

he asked us to be close. so we could see. he was at the deep end of the pool, and so we came into the pool and sat on the floor close to him. he began by explaining his performance practice…improvised…objects he may or may not use. and the title: i’m sorry. and then he began, the shift from being with us to being in the performance. rolled up his pants, took a plastic bag filled with a colored spice, burnt sienna colour, and took a handful of spice and flung it at his feet. one step at a time. in a circle. the mark of his footprint left behind as negative space.
then, taking his hand, palm open, he begins to hit the left side of his chest. the sound fills the space. stopping, the trace of red sienna on his white shirt, he undoes his shirt halfway, exposes his chest, we see the red marks left behind by his hand, one arm is taken out of the sleeve. bbb continues. dark earth thrown into the centre of the circle. earth tones. an onion hit against the head until it breaks in two. the two onions halves rubbed into the eyes. a cardboard box ripped into the words “ego” taped to the wall, a fish head held in the hands, a dark stain on his lips, a gesturing into the crowd as if catching our spirits, hand with captured spirits put into the pocket, taken out and now it is white cotton to be played with in the hands, then kicked in the air, running and hitting the wall, slapping the face while smearing the word “illusion” on the wall with dark earth, nivea cream rubbed over the head, sparkly sequins poured over the head, sticking to the nivea cream, rose bouquet in the hands, the blooms caressing the wall to end up being smacked into the wall, petals scattered on the floor to be picked up, blown into the audience. he is gone.
a series of gestures, not in the order recounted. a body before us creating images we have not been schooled to read, and so the images enter, un translated into words to make meaning.
images before words can frame them. and so it is the two children, sitting in the front row, who gasp, who laugh hystrically, who express disgust at the fish head, who pull their feet in for fear of being hit by the spice being flung on the floor, who encourage bbb through gesture to cover the fish head, who pick up the remaining rose petals. the youngest child giving one petal to me.

text and drawings by Karen Spencer