even out the pressure

Live performance for

 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art,  Toronto 2010 (as a  FADO artist)

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By Daniel Baird (on the 7a*11d Festival blog)

Norwegian artist Agnes Nedregard’s performance, on the other hand, was all intensity. A board hanging on a rope from the ceiling and a board with two holes on the ground, she began by placing a mouthpiece in her mouth that held it open grotesquely, her tongue poking out. A metronome ticked to one side. She blew a whistle. She took her rubber boots off and prowled past the audience in stockings full of dirt and rocks, scowling. She then took her jacket off, revealing an old shirt ripped loose down the front between her breasts. Using needle and thread, she then began sewing the flaps of the shirt to the sides of her breasts and chest. She approached individual audience members, staring at them intensely, the pieced the needle through her skin, pulling the thread tight. She blew the whistle again. The metronome continued to tick. She fit her legs through the holes in the board on the ground.,  and set herself on the one hanging from the ciling, gazing, again, with a blank intensity at the audience. Then she suddenly leaped off the board, and it snapped back up toward the ceiling, swinging. The performance ended with her putting her jacket and boots back on and stopping the metronome, whose ticking by then permeated the room. Nedregard’s performance might seem to be about the denial of the body, and of women’s bodies in particular, but it struck me as too physically intimate and present for that; it seemed to me more about the fragility and instability of the body as it exists in time, where time, through the metronome, has become an active, physical, literal part of the performance.

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duration: 15 mins

materials: metronom, gravel, stockings, wool jumper, wood,  elastics, wooden flute, wooden ring, surgical needle, thread,  audience