Julie Louise Bacon | Becoming River

Becoming River

  • 15 Jul

  • jbacon

I presented this durational performance in the annual Periferias festival in Huesca, Spain in 2011. In the work, I was interested in expressing the possibilities of fluidity within the city, the recirculation of histories, ideas, experiences, and the everyday. I drew on the water held in a monumental fountain at the heart of the city, repeatedly filling up a blue briefcase with its water, and then walking from the fountain to a pedestrian walkway lined with a colonnade of beautiful trees. These were planted to commemorate democratic activists during the time of the fascist dictator Franco. A Baroque-style fountain is a very different kind of monument to a tree. One is decorative, the other life support. I wanted to connect these two realms, the aesthetic flourish of the city and a vital political undercurrent.

This was in a sense performing the architecture of place, a redistribution of meaning through the investment of time, in a playful gesture: a performer in blue evening dress in broad daylight, with a briefcase leaking water tracking her movements. As I walked, the water wove a line between the street furniture and buildings, a line Becoming River or Volverse Rio, creating a new temporary waterway. The heat of the day evaporated the path before, once again, I retraced it, over and over, until sunset. I wove my movements further through the site as, from time time, I tied a ribbon of the same blue satin material as my dress around various features of the space: the park benches that encompass the fountain plaza, and the exposed roots of the trees. At dusk, once the performance was completed, I noticed people coming to unbind the ribbon, to take it home with them, for their own use.