Tom Inglis Hall

An Awkward Proposition

Les Tombées de la Nuit, Rennes International Arts Festival, France 2014

You are confronted with an installation made entirely of brown packaging cardboard. The space is split in two. One half is a space set up for a practice studio where a dancer is warming up for a performance and bathed in blue light. It holds the latent potential and energy of a classical piece of dance but it will never fulfill this, it will always stay as a ‘potential’. In the other half of the space is a replication of a men’s urinal. It is purposely a non-art space but holds historic significance with the dialogue of artistic past and high/low art materials.

You walk into the cardboard public toilet, which is a monochrome area that gives a theatrical sense to the space. It is all very recognizable, nothing untoward: toilets, urinals and washbasins but one of the cubicles is jammed full of what appear to be random objects but each are questioning performative states through political, social and cultural indicators either directly or indirectly. Next to this but not accessible or directly visible is a live performance by a dancer. Light spills into the toilet space and you can hear someone working hard.

Both spaces are performative. The toilet is a theatrical space where the audience are the protagonists turning the set into the stage. The dancer in the counter side as performer is always warming up preparing to perform. They are both about the spectacle of looking, challenging the role of the audience and asking important questions about the experience of looking and the way that context mediates this scrutiny.