Pedro Gómez-Egaña has created a ceremonial performance built around the careful process of placing two magnetised pendulums in balance. His Object to be Destroyed sets the audience, guided carefully by the performers, on a journey that brings together symbolic and historical time, mystical fantasies, the magical experience of science and the point where bearing witness meets spectacle.
Concept and Direction: Pedro Gómez-Egaña
Composer: Henri Dutilleux, Au gré des Ondes
Performers: Mina Nishimura, Ximena Garnica, Matthew Davis, Carlos Maria Romero, Pedro Gómez-Egaña
Piano: Elaine Kwon
Light Design: Kryssy Wright
Dramaturgical Advisor: Bojana Bauer
Off-Site Technical Assistance: Stefan Törner
Production: Entrée and Performa
The project was made possible with the kind support from Norwegian Consulate General New York, Office for Contemporary Art Norway and Bergen Municipality.
Performa 13 Biennial
November 22nd & 23rd, 2013
Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St, New York
Photos: Chani Bockwinkel, courtesy of Performa / Randi Grov Berger
Video-documentation: Charles Dennis, Pedro Gomez-Egana
The audience gathers in a theatre foyer. Groups of five people are allowed into a dimly-lit hallway lined with thick curtains and carpet. An usher signals the group to wait in the middle of this hallway. A pianist begins to play "Au gré des ondes" by Henri Dutilleux, but the piano and its pianist remain invisible. Once the 2’30” long piece finishes, the group can hear steps beyond the curtains.
The usher signals the audience to continue through the hallway until they reach a mezzanine overlooking an open space, which is the stage of the theatre. The group is asked to walk down a set of steps onto the stage, also surrounded by curtains. The pianist and two female performers are in the space. Five chairs are organised in a semi-circle.
Once the audience members are settled, the usher leaves, and the pianist begins to play again. While the music plays, the performers walk towards the centre of the room and reach for two copper-coloured clock pendulums fitted with neodyme magnets lying on the floor. One is attached to the ceiling and the other to the floor by use of nylon strings. The performers carefully begin to bring the pendulums together, until reaching a point of balance between the pull of the magnets and the resistance of the nylon threads.
The performers walk back and the pendulums remain suspended in mid-air as the music comes to an end. Steps (from other audience groups navigating the different stages of the performance) are heard around the space again. The usher appears through the curtains behind the suspended pendulums and asks the audience to enter. The curtain closes and the audience find themselves in a more domestic setting.
The usher sits down in front of the audience and finds another pair of pendulums lying next to him. As the piano begins to play on the other side of the curtain, he places the pendulums in balance just as the performers did in the previous room.
Once the music stops, the usher invites the audience through yet another set of curtains, to a space with a man facing away from them, looking down at a coffee table with two quartz crystals next to each other. The usher then asks them to continue up a set of stairs and through a door where they are shown out of the building.
Pedro Gómez-Egaña (b.1976, Colombia) lives and work in Bergen, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark. Educated from Goldsmiths College and Bergen National Academy of Arts and the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Program. He works with sculpture, video, phonography, and site specific works that include a focus on motion and temporality. Gómez- Egaña is currently showing works at Bergen Assembly, Monday Begins on Saturday, and opens a new projects for Lofoten International Art Festival on September 6th. He has also performed at the South Bank Centre, Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Kunstnernes Hus; OktoberDans, Bergen; Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen; Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin; Brussels Biennial; Marrakech Biennial; Kunsthall Mulhouse; Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London; Rencontre International d’Art Performance de Quebec; L’appartement 22 Rabat; Galeria Vermelho, Sao Paulo; CCMoca, Buenos Aires: Dare Dare, Montreal and for BMIC Cutting Edge Series, London.