Text by Sophie Cavaliero
A live performative exploration
SCOTCH relates as much to performance art as to a personal experience of freedom.
In the first instance this freedom comes from an action – that of reinstating one’s body and personal space in today’s society where social codes and values no longer have a direct link to the individual.
This fabric of social constraints is always present and insidious by a continual flow of images. The SCOTCH performance removes these constraints by experimenting a more fundamental state of being, an experience linked with one’s own reality. The response to this perception with no filter is then smiles on all faces.
This first act of void and erasure enables a letting go (physical, sensorial, energetic). The performance is not a realistic, surrealistic, and hyperrealistic representation of scotch. The performer is SCOTCH.
He becomes flooded by a slow life drive (it has always been there but he feels it for the first time again since childhood). He is fully connected with his own self and environment, stripped bare of his contemporary attributes.
This is a live performative exploration.
How others see
SCOTCH, astonishingly, reveals the power of how others see.
The audience is created by the performance taking place in a location where contacts happen by chance along with the basic needs of humans to observe and look on. People’s instinctive reaction to witness this performance is to inscribe in their memory what they are seeing. They take pictures, they talk to each other, shout or laugh. The incongruity and bizzareness of what they are watching has to be exteriorised.
Then they feel overtaken by the event and express the necessity to take part themselves. They follow the performers, their implication becoming stronger as their need for answers faces the very natural state of the performers, bringing them back to their own motives and projections.
The feeling is one of being in the heart of the City, in the heart of the event. This becomes so special that everyone is talking about it and the voyeuristic tendency is justified by the sudden celebrity of the event. How the other sees creates how the other sees.
The simple nature of the tape also reveals the primordial contour and attributes of the performer. The SCOTCH performance reveals this gaze of the other as an inscrutable and unconscious analysis, revealing itself to the other’s eyes… because this gaze is not taped.
SCOTCH makes see how others see.
SCOTCH is a performance that flirts with taboo, revealing the deep soul of a culture by showing what it hides.
Wrapping one’s body with tape : is it so neutral? And then we start hearing a little voice saying: “we wrap corpses in Africa, you cannot play with the dead” “what’s this trend? A joke coming like this to fashion shows? ’’, “he will be crossing several territories, did he ask the chief’s permission?” “we cannot play with the body”.
Can the wrapped performer be just anybody? Can we wrap a child with tape, a pregnant woman, someone disabled or a person with cancer?
SCOTCH highlights the right or not to use our own body, placing itself in the body art discourse but goes further in a proposition of marking the body but with no damage done. It questions how we accept unknown or non-control over the body and over the public space (children love it but the police doesn’t). SCOTCH masks the body itself, only showing an outline, a sketch and first / last human trace.
Does SCOTCH make one free? If taboos remain, SCOTCH cannot be.
SCOTCH makes you see the other’s taboo.
SCOTCH is a performance that first erases to better reaffirm.
The material enveloping the performers becomes the eraser then the pencil. It rubs out the individual distinctive visual signs. We do not see his face, his body, his clothes any more, his gestures are not really human, slower they seem to respond to an invisible force reinforcing their presence. Would you recognize your own mother? Even although as soon as the tape is put on, an outline appears showing a new identity of the performer, like a self reaffirmation of a rebirth.
We think of the myth of the invisible man that once disappeared and needs to reappear to exist and band himself to make visible the invisible.
SCOTCH is fundamentally about inscription : inscription in the locations and in the cultural mythologies like in Africa where some people asked if they were coming from the ground. A parallel to Bizard’s other artistic works can be made when he writes with tape in the city a declaration to the world that strikes one as so obvious but nonetheless sometimes remains so mute, using words not as personal expression but rather to recall a universal language that would say everybody can takes the right of his own (public) space.
SCOTCH makes you see the artist, the artist physically inscribing himself in his era, in his environment, in the development of an artistic creation.
SCOTCH is inscription, not erasure.
But at the end of the day, SCOTCH has to be forgotten as an artistic performance to be enjoyed as a pure moment of festive freedom.
Wearing tape creates a surprising reaction. Processions form, a dialogue sets up between the people, joy and excitement rise up as the performance goes on.
After the very first claustrophobic sensation, the performer senses an incredible feeling of freedom and safety. He lives the experience of a global stage. The entire city becomes the space of the experience and the world seems to unfold free of social codes ‘’to him.’’
From the public springs a jubilating energy to a climax as if it had wrapped up the performer and now its creation is coming to life. The semblance of original creation. The joy of breathing life. The performer, like Lazarus rising from the dead, enacts the joy of life triumphing over the defeat of death.
The crowd celebrates and exclaims. SCOTCH is popular, SCOTCH is joyful, SCOTCH is free.
SCOTCH gives festive freedom.
Notes from inside
Scotch is minimalist. The performance is what manifests between the actor and the one who sees him. Like the ropes thrower figure in the Haïtian carnival who is nothing but a body covered in black but yet expresses all. It acts as a glass magnifying the awareness the performer has of his own body and the energy of the others, and it works on the spectator’s perception to create an uncanny image.
SCOTCH is a transformation of the body by the external action of the artist and a body transformation by itself. It gets less oxygen, so the body places itself on a slower pace, like deep divers do. The scotch skin activates the lymphatic system. That provides a feeling of wellness and presence as well as a better flow in the movements. The motion seems to slide ‘’in-between’’, resulting in a quality close to release technique in dance. The spectator faces the awkward figure and yet receives this positive energy.
SCOTCH fascinates the gaze. The nature of the material, flat and shinny, makes the focus uncertain, while being hyper visual, the shape is difficult to apprehend creating thus a symbolic perception, like light do in a theater show.
Using everyday material in a childish manner, SCOTCH enable also the spectators to appropriate the performance more easily than any other costume.
Inside the cocoon, the performer has to surrender, otherwise this is panic. With the time he feels his body being made of all the gazes that come to him and shape him, as well as the togetherness with the other performers is very alive. To a point the matter disappears to experience being a body of love.