Eros and Simone Simone @ Low Stakes Micro-Festival. New River Studios, London. 18.02.2017.
they start around the corner from the bar, and it looks like they’re just preparing for a performance; the two of them are crouched around some cardboard boxes, and maybe you notice they’ve got super intense hair – a big blond wig, and a bushy black mane – sort of glam: an open white shirt, and long fur coat, heels, white trainers, etc.
but when you pass them by, you notice they’re pretty much lying down on the warehouse floor, in a way that you wouldn’t really need to do if you were just setting up, as it’s a bit grim; then one of them looks up at you and you notice they’re wearing full drag makeup. and you start looking at them properly and they’re both really spaced out. they’re super sluggish and not particularly friendly, and they turn back to their boxes and continue to write on them, seemingly they’re just writing ‘BRICK’ over and over again, not in a manic way, more just methodically covering each box with text. and they’re holding the sharpies a bit like the boxes are spinning, and the floor is spinning; like it’s hard for them to orient themselves, not in a desperate or panicked way, but just that this is what existence always feels like for them; it’s sort of fine, because there’s no rush or any need to do anything really, so this lack of balance or focus isn’t actually a problem, except it is kind of strange that these people keep standing around and watching, and these boxes have a bit more space to have ‘BRICK” written on them, once they can figure out how to move their body down and the tip of the marker to the cardboard.
time doesn’t really ‘stretch’ or ‘unfold’ as much as it continues its normal progression through this slapstick-y nothingness, so as i’m watching it i’m very aware of how tired my feet are from standing, and how i really need to eat something soon; but it’s also very evident that this is the best thing i’ve seen in months, the thing I’ve been goddamn yearning to see, and i refuse to miss a second of it. and they find more boxes to put there until they’ve got about a dozen, arranged in a line across the space, some stacked on others; it sort of pathetically gestures towards a wall, a wall of cardboard, a wall of bricks, of tiny bricks, or a tiny wall of tiny bricks, so maybe a small model of a regular sized wall, and i wonder if it’s Turmp’s wall, or any particular wall, or just the abstract concept of walls, and borders, but it’s also very evident that they’re not really going for any of these things in particular which you need to ‘get’, but if you want to think about these sort of things then, like, good for you.
he’s got this vibe which is a bit like everything he does has an certain aura, a sort of intensity that he imagines extending beyond his body, like he can effect things just by making vague shooing motions at them with his hands; and she’s not so aura-y, but more glamorous and poised. not as a way to show off for us, she’s just spent enough of her time practicing standing and slouching and relaxing until that’s pretty much all she knows how to do now. and then they start setting fire to the boxes, which are kind of damp; they keep striking matches and holding them up to the edges of the cardboard to see if it’ll light. it’s great, because it’s actually a bit uncertain if they’ll ever catch and anyway they’re idiots and get distracted quite easily, but then sometimes they do start going, and you have no idea what’s going to happen, and then they notice that the box is properly on fire, (which they’re sort of gently surprised about, like they don’t seem to make the connection between lighting boxes on fire and the boxes ending up being on fire,) and maybe they vaguely recognise something being on fire as a bad thing, so one of them might pick it up, or turn it over, or put it just to one side, and leave it there; or will maybe try to pat the fire out, or gently step on it a bit until it dies down.
so they keep doing this, and more and more of the boxes become more charred, and sometimes they’re let to burn fully, and they’re all smouldering now, and the whole warehouse is pretty full of smoke. it’s unclear whether they’re going to keep on doing this or if one of the organisers is going to come over and put a stop it, because it’s obviously a huge huge risk and extremely dangerous – one of them’s wearing a fucking wig and a long trailing coat, and the other one just literally keeps touching the fire with their hand, or just holding the box-on-fire and forgetting about it; and it would be very easy for someone to just come up and take away their matches and the boxes, and they’d only put up a very ineffectual resistance; they’d just sort of feebly protest in a very very slow way, and then probably forget about it.
all of the boxes are on fire now, and i know that i reek of smoke, and it’s obvious that if this was performed outside it would suck; and i’m thinking about FK Alexander’s piece she did at Buzzcut where she smashed up a car: i’ve never seen it, but i tend to use it as a reference point for a certain kind of work. and instead of (what i imagine to be, based on her other stuff, but also what i heard about the show) FK’s rage, and sincerity, and earnestness, and urgency, and the sense of a collectivity or liberation in the moment of that performance, we’ve just got these two idiots who are sort of accidentally setting fire to stuff; replacing of all that energy, that political action and energeia, with a void, and a lethargy, and an entropy; not even the undertaken with any kind of irony, but just a situation where they’re holding a lit match and then forgotten about it, and it starts to burn their fingers, so they drop it, and they’re processing all this five or ten seconds late, and then they look down and notice that these cardboard boxes, this wall, is on fire, and to me, i guess, it turns out that that’s just as good a method of destruction as anything else, really.