Portrait #1

Durational performance (3 days), in-situ composition and site-specific installation (mixed techniques, 180cm x 250cm), MAAM – Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove, Rome, Italy, 19-21 December 2014.

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Two artists stand in front of each other, separated by a transparent screen, and write a portrait of one another, for three days.  While they write, they also ‘voice’ what they are writing. The two performers, Majella and Malcolm, are also a couple in life, the dialogic improvisation that they explore is, in this sense, also a symbolic moment in their fifteen years of life in common. Starting from an idea of portraiture in the most classical sense, as reciprocal description, they write and rewrite continuously on the transparent screen until it is completely opaque and ‘solid’, a crystallisation (in space and in matter) of an encounter.

Portrait #1 is also gesture. Beyond the ‘communication of a content’, its duration pushes the performers and the means of their communication (written, oral and bodily) to the limit, becoming an enquiry into writing, narrative and voice as pure means. Beyond the description of physical features, family stories, and the confession of secrets, beyond boredom, fatigue, extenuated vocal chords, and the desire to have finished, towards another space: narrative for narrative’s sake, communicating ‘writing’, saying the ‘voice’. Chris amplified these voices, copied, multiplied and diffused them in the room in layers and loops, mixed with glitches, with their circular rhythm, underlining the relationship between subjects, space and technologies.


Chris’ mixes of the in situ composition:

You can find us in the catalogue of MAAM: Forza Tutt*, Bourdeaux Edizioni, 2015.


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