Having sat in the empty shop for three hours catching up with my knitting I realised that in fact this was a performance. Further thought showed that more vignettes would be possible. Thus was born a day of performance, three hour-long pieces by the re-eactment section of alldaybreakfast.
I. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
A figure sits behind the counter in the shop knitting. Above and to the right a spotlit sign reads ‘Full of Empty’. As Madame Defarge knits and watches the demise of the Ancient Regime, so the knitter in the empty shop watches the slow demise of Consumer Society in a shopping centre with many closed shops which is desperately clinging to life.
II. the Naked Lunch by William S. Burrows.
A figure wearing a fawn macintosh buttoned up to the chin sits behind the counter. On the counter rest a sandwich and an apple. A bite is taken from each. The figure is not naked: the lunch is, naked bread, naked green leaves, naked cheese, naked apple. The apple, of course is significant, likewise the macintosh, a signifier of concealed and shameful sexuality.
III. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
In the far window of the shop, illuminated by a row of lights a figure sits, head in hands, on a high chair with its back to the world. The roller-shutter door of the shop is closed. The figure, wearing a fawn macintosh, does not move. The macintosh is a garment of despair and of retreat, it encloses the wearer and separates them from their immediate environment.
Sylvia Plath killed herself.
William Burrows shot his wife.
Charles Dickens lived… ever after.
These were very minimal performances, interlocution could have been available to anyone who might have wished – but they didn’t ask.
All photos and video on this post: Tommy Cha. (http://www.tommycha.com)
The Bell Jar caused by far the most interest, though I was not able to observe this at first hand. The other two seemed to pass almost un-noticed by passers-by.
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