project image
Andrew Demirjian

first performed on February 7, 2013
Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee
performed once in 2013


New York, NY


“Ideological Tug of War” is a durational performance about the vigilant push and pull over artificial lines.

I read an article about Winston’s Hiccup, which refers to the really irregular border of Jordan, created supposedly because Churchill drew the boundary after a long, boozy meal. It got me thinking about the deep attachments to territories and the arbitrary lines that divide places, ideologies and identities. For “Ideological Tug of War,” I wanted to make the binary about divides more literal, situating this theme in a community performance about enacting sides through a game of tug of war.

In the performance, opponents/teams took the sides of semantically vague categories, like Theory vs. Practice, Logic vs. Chaos, Work vs. Sleep or Puppies vs. Kittens. Sixteen ideological teams, based on community input and representing sixteen different categories of thought systems that were relevant to that population, played/pulled against each other in a grassy bowl to determine an ultimate winner. The performance uses a NCAA March Madness type of bracketing system of advancement and elimination, which further confuses the opposing ideological systems and turns the scoreboard into a self-generating absurdist poem created through physical strength.

The final four were Faith vs. Nothingness (who had handily beat Art) and Logic vs. Sleep (who had crushed Work and Kittens); the final was an epic pull between Faith vs. Logic; Logic was the ultimate winner. Faith was noticeably classy and sportsmanlike and quickly congratulated Logic.

More broadly, the performance realizes the metaphoric creation of a physical struggle over a line that doesn’t actually exist, suggesting the ease with which we get emphatically and emotionally attached to artificially created sides.