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the voyeur
watching from a distance, without being seen
   

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This new dance work explores notions of intimacy, desire and the performative act of revealing.

Inside a large box onstage are two dancers. The box is littered with peepholes – enough for each audience member to see through. Some are large enough to share, but most are for individual watching. Some have steps, some seats and many are at head height. Some of these ‘peep holes’ also have headphones, and some binoculars.

The audience is invited onstage to watch this performance, but how they watch is central to the work. Do they want to develop an intimate relationship with the performer? Do they want to hear the intimacies that are revealed on the headphones? Or do they want more visual information – to use the binoculars to see extremely close, things that are usually seen from a distance?

Each set of headphones has text – revealing text – one about each dancer. Revelations and vulnerabilities. Most in English, but some in other languages: Mandarin, Indonesian, Spanish or French depending on the demographic of each performance space, so the choice can be closer to what you desire.

Each viewpoint has an advantage and a disadvantage: you might be able to see everything, but that position has no headphones. You might have binoculars but you are a long way from the action. And so the audience move, exchange headphones, choose to watch through binoculars and alter their viewpoint for a different perspective.  They choose how much they want to take and what they want to know about the two dancers they are watching.

Slowly as the work begins, the lights dim and only the inside of the box is lit. The watchers are now anonymous. Voyeurs. Able to take and see what they want, themselves unseen. To choose how they consume their performance – these choices made without judgement.

Georg Simmel, an early 20th Century sociologist, discusses the act of watching and revealing and the profound relationships that are made within this process: “the eye of a person discloses his own soul when he seeks to uncover that of another. What occurs in this direct mutual reciprocity is in the entire field of human relationships.” *

Philosopher Emmanual Levinus similarly believes that an encounter with ‘the Other’ is the only way of revealing the truth about yourself. A central concept in this performance, but this work looks to make this encounter a private act. Something that engages individuals within a liminal space, while keeping the possibilities open: allowing for difference within the viewers. Peepholes make the watcher anonymous, so their watching experience can be both private and individual. Similar to being in a darkened auditorium, but this work also offers choice: where to stand, what to hear, where to look, how to engage. These choices allow for diversity of audience and a performance that has multiple layers of reading. Much like life.

This work is an exploration of raw vulnerability, desire and what it means to watch another person and the choices made in the watching.

 

and then it ends

after we have revealed ourselves. and you have watched us.

 

*Flanagan, Kieran, 2004, Seen and Unseen: visual Culture, Sociology and Theology, Macmillian, p. 109

 

 

 

photographs by
bruce mckinven

 

 

 

 

 

 







created by

performers
clare dyson & jonathan sinatra

lighting designer & production
mark dyson

stage & costume design
bruce mckinven

 

touring
touring party of 4
this work has minimal technical requirements and can be performed in a variety of spaces.
please contact the company for more details.

 

This work is approximately 50 minutes in length and there are some durational aspects within the work to allow for audience movement on the outside of the box. As such, there is no linear narrative that could be ‘missed’ if an audience member chooses to move to another position.

This work however, does have strong narratives: intimacy, revealing, desire, and personal experience. One audience member said it was the epic everyday of the work that allowed her to connect to the performers and back to her own life.

The audience capacity for each performance is 50 people and the performance will be repeated twice each evening.