Untitled 2008
Performance, 2 hours
Actor, small television monitor, Madame Satã dvd,
microphone, speaker, stenographer, fan heater,
projection, two rooms
Showtime, Gasworks Gallery, 2008

[...] The audience was free to roam between the two rooms: transitioning from the bustle of the sweltering, jam-packed room (watching and listening to the actor), to the spacious and cool environment of the gallery (reading and following the script live as it was generated). At the end of two hours, the film finished, all that remained was a new ‘script’, handed to Flávia by the stenographer.


Untitled at Gasworks: real time transcription projected

When I wandered in I was expecting someone on the stage in the main room with the audience looking on and instead I found a screen of text with a moving cursor. I didn't immediately make the connection with the hordes of people in the other room but was desperate to see what they were looking at. I saw a man facing a TV talking into a microphone with his every word being taken down by a court reporter which was being transcribed onto a computer and projected onto the screen I had initially encountered.[...]


Untitled at Gasworks: actor, tv, stenographer table

[...] I felt compelled to follow the linear, oral and textual narratives behind the main reading by the English "actor" Ben Lewis, about João Francisco dos Santos, the Brazilian drag artist known as Madame Satã.

I also felt challenged by the use of modes of representation, discursive languages and live-translation as a way of reading narratives in a piece that seem to me to explore the ambivalence of coexisting realities, spatiality and human endurance. The sudden mumbling of a tired Lewis, the sporadic mistakes made by the hard-working stenographer, combined with the heated room reminiscent of Rio, appeared to disclose at the end of the piece the temporalities and subtleties of language and human communication. We kept entering and leaving the room, almost as if we were entering and re-entering language, lost somewhere in between, trying to catch phrases, descriptions, meaning.

We were solely dependant on Lewis and the stenographer, and ultimately on the artist, to grasp the forbidden visual images glaring out of the television screen, and projected to the "actor", almost as a exclusive dialogue between him and Dos Santos. Ultimately, that dependency marked a sort of vital link between viewer/spectator/reader/listener, and the reality projected verbally and visually, but also sensorially into the space of the gallery.

[...] My favourite bit was listening and following the story through the live account of the actor, his expressions and remarks. I think is was just perfect in that role, nice very subtle jokes, nice simple gestures. So much came out visually in my mind while listening and imagining the scenes, such colours, glittering lights, underground
environments that could only reference back what I had seen or imagined about that Brazilian context and the guy scenes.

I sat in the room for quite a while (back and forth), but towards the end (last 30 min) I was so resolute in knowing how the performance and the story would had ended. And really like watching a film I was totally in it, thinking "no, it can't end like that, yes this is the end ... wow .....
And then, when the actor started reading the titles and the names of the cast, was so funny and so great to be brought back to the simple fact that it was indeed a performance, a total fiction yet a nice collective experience. Every body in the room was laughing as much as me.

I went back to the other room and I read the last bit of script. Because the delay system, the text was about but not yet at the end of the film. This made me think that the performance was still going on and somehow it will really ended once I will be able to read the re-scripted story that came out that night. It was more than simply reading a script and more than simply watching a film. Stretching time and space beyond the walls and reality.

—Responses by people who answered my request to email me their experience of the performance.