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Allyson Packer

first performed on July 5, 2019
birds + Richard, Berlin, Germany
performed twice in 2019


Denton, TX / Santa Fe, NM


A set of five performances in which the viewer completes a series of actions that are imperceptible to the other people around them. In this way, the viewer becomes the sole performer and audience member each time it is performed. The piece, which explores the nature of private experience in public space, was first exhibited at birds + Richard in Berlin before traveling to other venues. The exact number of times it has been performed is unknown.

The scores for the five performances read as follows:

  1. Feel your eyes focus on these printed words. Notice the muscles that move your eyes across the page. As you repeat this movement from left to right, think of how you are moving your body in a way that only you are aware of. Sense what is happening in your peripheral vision, but don’t look up. Keep yourself in the private space between your eyes and the paper.

  2. Think of something that’s a secret. Something unknown to the people around you. Decide where you consider this secret to be located. It may be very far away. Turn your body in that direction. Feel how you carry a part of this secret with you and how it connects you to something outside this room and outside the other people around you. Feel yourself face towards it and feel it facing you.

  3. When you are walking, look for yourself in every reflective surface you pass: picture frames, phone screens, the face of a watch. Avoid meeting your own gaze when you see yourself. Imagine that you’re looking at a person who is unaware of you, who would be surprised that you’ve noticed them.

  4. When you approach someone walking in the opposite direction, take a deep breath and hold it. Hold the air inside you and think of the way a pearl forms inside an oyster. Slowly, with pressure. Let the pressure build as they walk by. Exhale once they have passed.

  5. Put your hands in your pockets and cross your fingers. Look around for a moment and see what everyone else is doing.