March 24, 2011
Co-commissioned and presented with Abrons Arts Center.
Body Island is an unclaimed terrain of tense flesh and language, a metaphor for the way society responds to catastrophe. Nested within one another, like a massive matryoshka doll, bodies and landscapes form a fluctuating system of signification, a complication of the socially determinant object and the organism. The terms of the performance re-contextualize Beuy’s concept of Social Sculpture in the present day, collapsing the hierarchy of live performance, the performance document, and work made for video.
The primary performers of Body Island include a body-builder and twelve rats hired as professional actors. The witnesses of the performance unknowingly participate by contributing to the meaning and interpretation of the work as it unfolds. The performance also includes an enormous pyramid, 240 gallons of water, and multichannel live-feed video shot in the style of wildlife documentary. The final edit of the live-feed will be composed in real-time by the camera crew; the resulting video work will be the only substantial remnant of the performance.
Created and directed by Arturo Vidich. Video direction and editing by Madeline Best. Performed by Maximillian Balduzzi. Rats by Animal Actors Inc. Dramaturgy by Ashley Rawlings.