project image
Kate Clark

first performed on September 27, 2012
Space4Art, San Diego, CA as part of EXPLOSIVE TIME: Session III
performed once in 2012


Sam Duscombe, Misaél Diaz, Amy Sanchez, Robert Leathers, Cheryl Nickel, Vabianna Santos, Jessica Sledge, Chris Warr, and many others

San Diego, CA / York, UK


Spring 2012 by an isolated hot spring in the Colorado Desert. Two old men re-erect hand painted signs that were taken down the previous night. Signs read: “NUDITY PROBABLE AHEAD.” The structure of this work emerges from that within which rigid structure dissolves: a social situation wrung from the single wet spot in a very dry place.

Five wooden lecterns hold transcripts documenting an argument that occurred here between residents of a local off-the-grid community. Each script relates the argument from a different embodied perspective, presenting five conflicting claims on the usage of the pool (bathtub/child-friendly meeting place/tweaker den/nudist utopia), each reflective of wider ideology and time-based relations to place. The circular composition invites an active clustering of participants whose vocal utterances feed back through an underwater soundscape, reconstituting the nature of a discourse wholly contingent upon environmental circumstance. The pool sweats out an argument: the argument is the pool. Long straws feeding from water tanks catalyze vocal glossolalia in the form of curses and gargle that collects in a communal spittoon; as such, the pool is remade as a centralized conglomerate of bodily fluids that assemble over time.

The work addresses questions that bridge the interests and discourses of anthropology and visual art: How do textures of place, sensory and emotional intensity, and the paradoxical/irrational/impalpable translate between a site of ethnographic experience and its communication to a wider audience? How might secondary representation be substituted for a live and desire-driven reactivation of presence? Dancing on a pivot between clotting and overspill—pushing on a membrane or sploshing overboard—this extracted ethnographic scenario re-plays relations to “pool,” regurgitating the material effects of its origin.