THE CIRCLE IS A PROBLEM
“The Circle is a Problem” was developed out of a series of verse and prose fragments I wrote in 2018 confronting limitation and anxiety. The performance was based on a feeling rather than an intellectual concept. I wanted to explore a sense of false security, to interrogate and interrupt our submission to willing confinements. The desire to be free is a human necessity, but is it possible to be free, and even if a total freedom is possible, is it always beneficial?
Erected in the middle of the performance space was a cylindrical enclosure seven feet in diameter and seven feet tall. I stood outside the cylinder and invited two members of the audience to come forward and then each of them had to choose to be either on the left or right of the cylinder. The one who chose the left was free to write down three questions of a free will as long as it did not relate to the performance. The one on the right could only write questions directly related to the performance.
Concealed within the enclosure were four individuals facing North, South, East, and West. The darkness of the cylinder manifested specific body parts—a pair of knees, an elbow, a head and a pointing hand. Having collected the written questions from the two volunteers I moved towards the north end of the circle where a pair of legs emerged from a small opening in the enclosure. I asked the questions (left) tapping the knee with a hammer; each time there was no answer. I repeated the hammer tapping process, this time asking performance specific questions to the elbow. The pointing hand was delivered a question in the form of a string that came out of a crocheted circular form hanging on the opposite wall. The hand pulled the thread taking it inside the enclosure unravelling the circle.
The performance expressed the idea that one version of the human condition is voluntary imprisonment, while another version is the impossibility of ever penetrating this world of voluntary imprisonment. This is where the cylinder, the revolutions of self-defeating consciousness come in. We are considering cyclical time, famously symbolized in the Ouroboros, the circle which eats its own tail to sustain its life.
The single question, repeated to the head many times was: “How would you contemplate the love of a mother who has gone wild?”