Under the Floor

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

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Under the Floor
durational performance
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 2016
photo by Nini Rich

For six hours I lay under the floor and read aloud the book 'The Borrowers,' which could only be heard by lying on the floor of the library and listening through a vent.

event:
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
venue:
Salt Lake City Main Public Library
location:
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
sponsor:
Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival
date:
October 2016

Project Notes:

During the 2014 Festival, Montreal artist Caroline Boileau noticed and showed me the crawl spaces that are between the floors of the library.  They were built to allow for easy access to change the systems used for computers and electricity.  The space under the first floor of the library is clearly visible at eye level when standing in the Urban Room, the main atrium of the building.

So, in 2016 I made a cozy nest for myself under the floor, with pillows and a red blanket, water and snacks.  Directly above my head, the maintenance staff positioned an air vent, that connected to the first floor of the library.  Around that vent we placed mats, so that the audience could comfortably lie down to lean their heads in close to the vent to hear my voice.

For six hours I read out loud The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, published in 1952.  This was a favorite book of mine from my childhood. It is a story about little people that live under the floor of an old Victorian house in England.  It is about their adventures, living hidden from sight right below the humans, venturing out to forage for food and supplies. At the end of the first book they escape into the fields to avoid capture.

People of all ages lay on the floor to listen to the story, some for long periods of time.  They couldn’t see me, but only hear my voice.  And if they were in the Urban Room, looking through the window, they could see me reading, but they couldn’t hear the story.