“Thirst” is inspired and made by water. Two women in matching dress carry a clear glass vessel to the water’s edge and fill it. They strain under the weight of the heavy jug, but undeterred, head toward their goal-a small drinking glass on a pedestal. The vessels are riddled with holes, however, and steadily leak down the front of the women’s dresses, marking their futile effort, and leaving behind only a disappearing trail. The women work in sequence, building a rhythm, passing in the middle between shore line and glass. They witness the other, recognizing the places of strain and relief, but even together, they never are able to fulfill the goal; the glass cannot be filled. They simply continue.
“Thirst” is dually inspired by two points of reference related to water: one an ancient myth, the other a current and pressing global concern. Some of the most prominent sufferers in ancient mythology are The Danaïds who must forever carry water in leaky jars. This is their punishment for killing the men they were forced to marry. By reperforming the punishment of these mythical women, Longva+Carpenter are examining the ceaseless efforts of the labor force in general. The artists are also asking questions particular to women’s history and personal narrative: what are the ways we are still forced to make unfulfilling or unhealthy choices, and how are we still penalized for taking responsibility for our futures? Is there a way out of this cycle? The performance also investigates the current global water crisis. With the growing scarcity of usable water and increasing extent of water pollution and groundwater overdrafting, are our personal and political actions enough? Is there a way out of this cycle?
“Thirst” is a non-linear durational performance/live installation that speaks to enduring effort, so is best performed for a standard work day: eight hours with minimal to no interruptions. The artists are interested in the ebb and flow of viewer traffic and their own stamina over the length of a day.