Agoric Interventions

various street performances

Black Box

Blackboard boxes containing chalk, headphones, and instructions for a walk are littered around the park, overlooked and abandoned. Though most ignore them entirely, every now and then someone looks down at their feet, and spies, by chance, the jet black box lying starkly against the green grass. Some poke them with their feet then move on, others read them once, twice, before delving inside. The first few people refrain from actually touching the contents, or simply nudge them with their finger, though later arrivals begin leafing through the scraps of paper, daring, even, to put on the headphones. Eventually two girls arrive. The first, clearly mistakes it for a bomb, backing away as her friend open it. But then, together, they put on a headphone each, a fistful of instructions, and begin to walk slowly around the park. After they have finished, they begin to add to the box, using the chalk to mirror their own fears - 'you probably won't die!'. The box is taken for a few more walks, but not many. Many are not interested in the boxes. A child tries, unsuccessfully to destroy boxes by stomping on them. A tall gentleman sits down right in the centre of the path and proceeds to listen to the recording from start to finish, getting in everybody's way.

Blackboard boxes containing chalk, headphones, and instructions for a walk are littered around the park, overlooked and abandoned. Though most ignore them entirely, every now and then someone looks down at their feet, and spies, by chance, the jet black box lying starkly against the green grass. Some poke them with their feet then move on, others read them once, twice, before delving inside. The first few people refrain from actually touching the contents, or simply nudge them with their finger, though later arrivals begin leafing through the scraps of paper, daring, even, to put on the headphones. Eventually two girls arrive. The first, clearly mistakes it for a bomb, backing away as her friend open it. But then, together, they put on a headphone each, a fistful of instructions, and begin to walk slowly around the park. After they have finished, they begin to add to the box, using the chalk to mirror their own fears - 'you probably won't die!'. The box is taken for a few more walks, but not many. Many are not interested in the boxes. A child tries, unsuccessfully to destroy boxes by stomping on them. A tall gentleman sits down right in the centre of the path and proceeds to listen to the recording from start to finish, getting in everybody's way.

30 Gold Coins

Blackboard boxes containing chalk, headphones, and instructions for a walk are littered around the park, overlooked and abandoned. Though most ignore them entirely, every now and then someone looks down at their feet, and spies, by chance, the jet black box lying starkly against the green grass. Some poke them with their feet then move on, others read them once, twice, before delving inside. The first few people refrain from actually touching the contents, or simply nudge them with their finger, though later arrivals begin leafing through the scraps of paper, daring, even, to put on the headphones. Eventually two girls arrive. The first, clearly mistakes it for a bomb, backing away as her friend open it. But then, together, they put on a headphone each, a fistful of instructions, and begin to walk slowly around the park. After they have finished, they begin to add to the box, using the chalk to mirror their own fears - 'you probably won't die!'. The box is taken for a few more walks, but not many. Many are not interested in the boxes. A child tries, unsuccessfully to destroy boxes by stomping on them. A tall gentleman sits down right in the centre of the path and proceeds to listen to the recording from start to finish, getting in everybody's way.

Three people position themselves in a triangle formation upon the pavement, pulling from their backpacks a speaker each. A loud drone begins to emit from the speakers - three frequencies so closely related that they form an audible beating, changing in pitch and speed as you move from one speaker to another. Soon enough, a man walks past, but stops, suddenly, in the centre of the triangle. He pulls a piece of chalk from his pocket and begins to write upon the pavement, slowly revealing a single sentence... “there have been xx minutes since our last theft”. Upon finishing writing, the man stands up. He moves as if dancing, walking first left then right to admire his handiwork. After a moment, he nods to himself, and proceeds to remove a small polythene bag from his pocket. The dorne continues to play - the crowd of onlookers growing larger by the minute, a mass of half-amused, half-confused people. Reaching into the bag, the man retrieves from it 30 individual pound coins, which he then lays in a circle surrounding the text. When the circle is complete, all 30 coins placed ceremoniously upon the floor, the man returns the chalk to his pocket. He admires his work once more before, without glancing at the audience once, he leaves from the direction in which he came.

 

Several minutes later, the music begins to die down. The three people holding the speakers depart one by one, leaving in their wake only a circle of onlookers, forming a circle around some cryptic and vaguely moralistic text, 30 pound coins lying on the ground. After a moment, a young lady kneels to take them money. A child remonstrates her, but she continues. Another joins her, and another, whilst the child is joined by an old man, hand placed firmly against his hip in disappointment. "There taking the money!" he calls, in vain, after the now long gone performer. Several people join him, passing disappointed looks and tuts to those who took the money, now hiding round the corner, wondering what just happened.

Momo: A Reading

Starting at 9 a.m and continuing until around 4 p.m, the entirety of a children’s book is read to office workers on their cigarette and lunch breaks. Utilising the offices own benches and recreation areas as a space of performance, the reading is performed ‘loudly, to no one’ over an extended time period, with the themes of the book - the joys of time-wasting, a fear of ‘grey-suited men’, and a homage to work as something to be cherished not tolerated - born out in the relationship created between performer and worker.

 

Largely ignored (or at least an attempted ignorance) by the office employees, upon lunchtime a local pre-school were invited to join me for the reading, resulting in a chaotic mix of office-workers and toddlers sharing the same space in dramatically different ways. The once tempered, stern and monetary driven landscape, is transformed momentarily into a place of play and performance.

'Listen!'

A small crowd has gathered upon the square, drawn by an advert placed in the local press a week prior that read simply ‘Listen! 11 am, Wednesday, outside the library’. They wait in the cold for a few minutes, idly chatting, breathing into their fists, before I appear - march directly to the centre of the square, pause by the pink plastic Indian bull that lives there and prick an ear to the birds, the cars, the crowds; all the while carrying a large painted sign hoisted over my shoulder. ‘Listen.'  One bird chirps, then another.  A hospital bus pulls up to watch.  The waiter in Pizza Express opposite gazes at me nonchalantly.  After a moment I approach the crowd, hand each of them a slip of paper and, without a word, head swiftly across the street and up the adjoining staircase, stopping only to admire the clamour of a woman locking her bike to a lamp-post.  The crowd follows.  I lead them up the stairs and into an alley, past the open windows of a modern office block then on to the shopping precinct, our little parade keenly observed by those who pass it, a handful of silent pilgrims following a man with an unwieldly wooden sign.   Children mock us from afar, shouting ‘Listen to what?’ and laughing, only to lower their voices to a hushed reverie as we approach, as if frightened by our stated task, as if they don’t really want to be heard after all.  Towards the end of our journey we are approached by a middle-aged man - dressed in an expensive looking suit and clearly in a hurry, oblivious to the peculiarities of our group.  ‘Where’s the nearest cash-point?’ he demands.  We pause for a moment as I remove a small slip of paper from my breast pocket and hand it to him, before heading off down the street, leaving the man to read it with a mixture of anger and bewilderment. ‘Listen.'

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