project image
Ronan Nanning-Watson

first performed on June 19, 2015
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Vancouver, Canada
performed twice in 2015


Theatre Replacement

Vancouver, Canada / Berlin, Germany


“Blow-up” was made when a variety of companies came together to create an evening of experimental and experiential site-oriented performances exploring the theme of curiosity. The evening was titled Back Away Slowly.

“Blow-up” began with the audience group being met by a lecturing academic who, as he guided them to the performance space, spoke about the search for meaning and pattern-making in a world of purportedly random occurrence. They then entered a darkened studio that was bisected by five suspended mobile wall sections arranged so as to leave 1 ft gaps in between. Video of different landscapes at different seasons, all passing the window of a train, played on each segment. The effect of the interrupted continuity of these images but the maintenance of direction and motion created the sense of transformation within their gaps. Passing trees became telephone poles, became houses. The identification with each of these images was supported by diegetic sound for each video which began discreetly but slowly blended, smearing the identification of space and time.

It is in these gaps that they began to see the academic character slowly pacing a parallel track behind the dividers, and as he did he underwent a slow aging process. These two transformative planes interact within the space of possibility of ‘the gaps.’ It is in these gaps that mystery and curiosity exist. Eventually the performer widened a gap dispelling the videos and invited the audience into the adjacent space. He sat on a chair under a projected Penrose pattern that was undergoing live transformation by the soundscape until the audience was guided out.

The Penrose pattern—a tesselation capable of tiling the infinite plane yet non-algorithmic, requiring human input to generate—was a potent construction in exploring the human desire to constrain and comprehend our universe. The pattern’s self-similar property is a manifestation of the themes which were inspirational to us from Juilo Cortazar’s BlowUp; a frame which when inspected dilates through inflation or deflation to reveal vastly more internal frames and perspectives.

BlowUp holds the fractured linearity of a recalled life journey, the desire to make sense of our lives and of nature, against the foil of perfect abstract models. “Blow-up” prompts the viewer to question the frame of their perspective. Seeking to evoke the awe-full-ness of lines we make and the spaces between them.