undertow

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

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undertow
durational performance
International Congress of Performance Art
Valparaiso, Chile
photo by Sofia De Grenade

A durational performance, rolling through seaweed until it completely encased my body.

event:
International Congress of Performance Art
venue:
Ex-Frigorífico
location:
Valparaiso, Chile
sponsor:
perfopuerto.org
date:
November 2005

Project Notes:

Chile’s International Congress of Performance Art took place in Valparaiso, an active port city on the Pacific. Several days before the post-conference festival was to begin, we saw the sites on the waterfront that were available for performances. I found the spaces in the old refrigerator warehouse ”Ex Frigorifico” to be most interesting. Out of half a dozen possibilities, I chose a small room with a drain trough running down the center. The light played across the floor from windows high near the ceiling. I decided to do a durational performance. I had three days to choose materials and the action.

Later that afternoon, we walked through the city, going to the market and stopping at the street stalls. One vendor had stacks of odd bundles of dried black leaves tied with string. I asked our guide what they were, and she told me that they were bundles of dried seaweed. She went on to describe the ways that it is collected and eaten.

Seaweed. I knew then that I wanted to fill the room with seaweed. After consulting with the organizers about methods of reconstituting dried seaweed, they offered to go to the ocean and gather fresh seaweed for me. With an initial test bag of it, we calculated how much was needed to cover half the floor of the room.

On the day of the performance, I blocked the trough at both ends with clay, and filled it with water. It held. I poured mounds of salt into the water, so much that they didn’t dissolve but slowly spread beneath the surface. We laid the seaweed out on the floor, from wall to trough, covering half of the room.

It was time to begin. I lay down at one end of the room, my feet in the trough. Slowly I began to roll through the seaweed, pausing for long periods of time. Over the hours, the seaweed began to wrap around my body, until I was encased in it. Only my feet could be seen, dangling in the water.