In this promenade performance, a set of performers carry signs that together spell out words. They roam around a crowded space, find a good spot to display, then fan out with their message. The message alternates between ‘HERE IS BETTER’ and ‘THERE IS BETTER’. They are constantly pursued by a flag-bearer. The performers hold their message until the woman waves her black flag – this is their cue to fold up their signs and disperse back into the crowd. This work ideally plays for several hours in the background of a crowded space so the performers weave through their audience and display the messages at regular intervals.
The source material for this work is a newspaper article which describes the relationship between Cuba and the US. The US government displayed irritating messages on a giant news ticker in Havana, and in return Castro erected 100-foot-high black flags to block these messages. In Here Nor There, there is a meaningless dialogue between the two sides (the sign-holders on one side, the flag-bearer on the other), and even the message is ambiguous – as if both sides have lost the point of their exchange. The work pokes fun at diplomatic tit-for-tat and how actions lose their meaning when two opposing sides are entrenched in conflict.
Here Nor There was originally commissioned by Cecilia Wee as part of ‘Shards of Utopia’, Late at Tate Britain, and has since toured to Hawley Square, Margate, part of Limbo’s programme ‘Art Lands on Alien Landscape’.
Tate Britain performers: Bram Thomas Arnold, Joe Campbell, Chloe Cooper, Emma Leach, Sarah Leach, Samuel Overington, Frances Scott, Nikki Tomlinson and Natasha Vicars
Limbo Arts performers: Ania Bas, Joe Campbell, Tom Fostervold, Dominika Kieruzel, Emma Leach, Sarah Leach, Siobhan McGhee and Gary Perkins
Second photo down by Sascha Pohflepp
All other photos by Richard Cobelli
Video (top) by Tim Spencer
Video (bottom) by Ben Rowley for Limbo