Unpacking Pack, Unpack

so above are images of the performance in Shannon. It went off well logistically. I am going to make a copy of the notes I took before and immediately after performing.

‘Weird liminal space. Purgatory- stuck between places. Waiting to start. Anti climactic but anticipatory. Everyone hanging about. People walking past pulling bags. Usual airport every spectrum of humanity. Now and then flight announcements.  Xmas music floating in background. Decorations. Looking forward to start so I can focus on action. Interested to see how fast/slow time will go
Post performance. Good response. Interesting atmosphere there- a strange liminal place. Terrible tinny sinister Xmas music. I was actually emulating everything that was going on there- music on repeat, staff walking by, everything was circular. I felt tired by end. Tried to change the arrangement of objects each time I laid them out. Packing was easy as I had everything there- I didn’t have to choose what to bring. This had already been done. Audience- positive. Those who came over identified with it’

I arrived on time, all good, having spent the night before and more time that morning repacking the case, keeping in mind what I’d talked about in the last post. So now I was lugging a very heavy case (definitley overweight I’d wager) full of items that I’d previously transported across various timezones, for purely emotional reasons, and vintage clothes that I immediately formed an attachment to upon seeing for the first time and justified in some manner buying. Also I found a stash of baby clothes that I’d kept, mostly little vests belonging to my daughter, who was only 4lbs when she was born, and hats which all three of my kids wore as I kept most of the stuff and all three wore the same baby gro’s etc. I packed these, as they fit thematically as they also had been transported across various time zones. Also I packed clothes that I actually wear, and toiletries and books, and my pencil case and sketch pads, and my laptop and charger. All of which I would normally bring with me. so basically I had a load of STUFF packed into this red suitcase.

I had to go through security and that took a while, then Natasha, the floor manager escorted me up to the departure area where the cafe and restaurant and duty free is. They had set up a space for me, which was cordoned off with those pull-out strappy things on poles they use to make fences to get people to queue the way they want them to at airports. I had asked for this as I knew if I was just there on the ground, packing and unpacking with no division between me and the passengers, signage or no signage, people would be less willing to come over and have a nose at what was going on.

I waited around for Natasha to come back with signage which she was unhappy about as it wasnt ready yet.. then she came back and said the guy would hopefully be back in a while with it. So I got started, in the mean time Paul had arrived and we decided to move the cordoned off space a little forwards, so as to intercept people a little more. To set the scene, there were not many people about- granted there was some traffic, just not much. its a fairly big open space, see below:

So I got started. I think I did a full unpack and pack 9 times in total. I was at it for 2.20 hours in total I think. It took longer at the start and as I went on I got faster, and cared less, but also got better at it. It was easy, yes my back and knees were a bit sore but basically it was fine. Again, you need internal energy to keep going when the general air around you is studied vacuous indifference and weird liminal purgatoryish vibes. By which I mean as I went about packing and unpacking, I realised I was bascally doing an action which was in perfect keeping with what was going on in the space- tinny christmas music floating out, and on repeat. People moving through in a pattern, and staff moving around in a cyclical fashion. Everything was repeating itself, including me. We were all on the same circular conveyor belt. This was obviously a glorious realisation and in perfect accordance with my previous homages to King Sisyphus.

I focused on the action of packing, and unpacking. I tried to place the items differently each time, and to pack in a different format each time.

I was occupied doing this and so was kept busy. Therefore the action was relatively easy to perform. People did engage, and the joke was on me as I had intended not to speak during the performance, but from the get-go this did not happen. A nice american lady came over at the start and started commenting and asking questions and I couldnt not talk to her, it would have been insufferably pompous to not have engaged with her. So most people who came over talked to me and I talked back.

All of the above meant that It was an enjoyable experience. Which did not matter but was a nice consequence.

Now to think about how to follow thi suo and develop further. Paul is putting together some footage which I will use to send to Dublin and Cork Airports. Thinking about train stations too? But I’d prefer airports.

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