This new year is beginning with a shift of focus, as we turn our heads to a new large-scale piece of work. We have been commissioned by Naves Matadero in Madrid, in partnership with the Siemens Stiftung Foundation, to create a new work to premiere and open the venue’s 2019-2020 international performance programme this coming September.
We are calling the project The sky was clearer in those days… Or El cielo era más claro en aquellos días… as the work’s first staging in Madrid will be titled. A sentence drawn from scientist James Lovelock’s description of his realisation that the skies over where he had always lived had changed since he was young; a realisation that led to his search for the reasons why, a search that in turn led to his discovery of the accumulation of CFCs in the atmosphere in the early 1970s.
At its simplest, this project could be said to have begun with that small gesture of looking up. A slight inclination of the neck, to lift our gaze, to consider the sky – and what it might tell us about how far our ‘here’ and ‘now’ really extends.
And the one thing that we do know, is that this work will be built on the durational act of publicly dismantling a used family car.
As soon as you begin to disassemble any modern human-made object, and break it down into all its separate components, you start to see the spatial and temporal connections that were needed to bring it together.
Whatever its final form, this work has become rooted in our sense of how the attempt to physically break down a car, into its smallest possible elements, might allow us to open out views onto some of the wider landscapes and choices it is a part of.
So we are starting from a sense of how the attempted autopsy of a working car, as an unfolding task and offered action, might reveal the forces and processes needed to bring together such a disparate and geographically dispersed set of parts in one single object – in one single, and so naturally improbable, place.
And from a sense of what views that act of deconstruction might open out onto the scale of collective human activity, as a ‘force of nature’ in and of itself, that the car’s realisation and use is an instance of…
Over the coming months, one way or another, we will see where that takes us…