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Rory Golden

first performed on September 14, 2013
Dee Why Beach, Sydney, Australia
performed four times in 2013


Melanie Eden, Shelley Woodrow

Brooklyn, NY


This public performance continues my exploration of waking up the subconscious through actions of absurdity. In the spirit of social change, this performance paid homage to the Hundredth Monkey Theory. The idea, known in its popular form as a parable, was put forth by researchers Lawrence Blair and Lyall Watson to describe the tipping point at which the hundredth monkey on an island had learned to wash and eat sweet potatoes. The behavior reportedly spread to the entire group and even spontaneously leapt across the sea to groups of monkeys on other islands and the mainland. The Hundredth Monkey Theory represents the critical mass necessary to transform human behavior and the effecting of positive change.

For these site-specific, durational performances on the Northern beaches of Sydney, ghillie suits that are used by hunters and for military tactical operations were appropriated to create three costumed characters. By wearing the costume, we were immediately concealed and placed in a position removed from the public’s ongoing daily routines. This vantage point gave us the ability to “listen in” as if in a dream-like state, visiting the earthly human reality. The public carried on as though there was no one inside the costume, and we could overhear intimate exchanges with passersby and onlookers. We walked extremely slowly from point of origin to point of destination. It took hours to travel a few hundred yards, and viewers could not discern movement. Once in place, we stood still for another few hours. Never speaking, we would communicate using wild boar callers until the equally long return trip to our point of origin.

I was interested in decontextualizing these suits intended for deadly force. The intention was to create a hybrid visual that blurred the line of human, animal and plant—an unknown entity.

I wanted the viewer to ask:

1) Who are they?

2) What is their story?

3) Is there someone inside?

4) Can they see me?

5) How do I react?