DISCLOSED #6 – 28th June 2009

Start time: 3:19pm
Duration: 12 mins
Witness: Fiona McGregor
Documentation: text
Other remains: red stained muslin

The buoys were like giant lollies, wrapped in canvas and tied with red ribbon either end. There were words painted on them in red copperplate – sad, wistful, angry, rueful. The nightmare that is my family … Love … A good joke … A body of work … We want to leave everything behind us, in a way, the good and the bad. Leaving behind is both vanishing and preservation.

The buoys were in a shop window on Regent Street, noisy, smoggy, 24/7. They pooled in the lower left corner, as though they had washed up there. Why am I calling them buoys? Maybe I should call them bottles. The messages outside as opposed to in. I’m a sucker for sea anything, and the whole metaphor of Julie’s trilogy – Trawl, Harbour, Wend – began to sink in. I had just packed up fifteen years of my life and deleted my home in Sydney; I was getting on a plane two days later and going away for a long time, so it seemed perfect. It made me feel both sad and liberated. I was so glad to be here.

Julie stepped into the window in a red dress. She placed a bucket on the floor next to her and with a sponge, began to wash herself. The water was red. She pressed the livid sponge to her face, neck, arms, chest. Red ran down her body. The dress clung to her, a blush spread across her face. Red spattered across the white floor. People walked past, mostly not noticing. It was a Sunday afternoon in winter, rain was brewing. I could see the men waiting at the bus stop opposite reflected in the shop window. One of them crossed the road to peer in the window for a few minutes at Julie’s melancholy, assiduous ritual. Then he returned to wait for his bus. There was something intensely private about Julie’s performance. I felt she might have been anywhere, so bound up in her actions that it didn’t matter if everyone saw, or no-one. It seemed the core of real performance, this deep focus – a form of oblivion.

When she finished washing, Julie stepped out of the window, leaving two white footprints in a pool of red. The whole picture in that window, of messages on bottles and the trace of human feet in a red stain, was so beautiful. Julie then tipped the remaining red into the gutter. I followed the fluid down the street, watching it make its way past dirt and bottle tops. It dispersed before it reached the drain. By the time we had arrived at our next destination, it would have evaporated altogether.

Fiona McGregor

~ by jvulcan on July 26, 2009.

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