‘Water Table’ Performance Artwork, as part of Bel-Mad Performance Art Exchange Project between Bbeyond & Accion!MAD, The Belfast aspect of the Exchange Project occurred in Catalyst Arts Gallery, Belfast in early February 2014.This performance artwork focused on current environmental issues near to my home and effecting other locations in Northern Ireland, UK, Europe, Australia and North America etc.I choose to work in a small dark, wedge shaped space adjacent to the main gallery in Catalyst arts. This space had an open door facing into the main venue and another out into a private alleyway beside the Gallery, which was filled with rubbish and debris.I installed a variety of objects in the space including a small table with a bowl of water and a silver platter with a silver ball on top, one lamp inside the space and one in the alley, a print of an oak tree, a small dead tree under a glass vitrine, a burnt atlas, money boxes, a chemistry stand and clamps, candles, a plumb-line piercing through the table, A4 Prints derived from the ‘Fracking’ industry, public protests and Irish River scenes with superimposed company logos, a pile of discarded wooden batons, G-clamps, etc.During the performance by using G-clamps, I attached the wooden batons onto the table legs, one by one, and in increasing lengths as time went bye. I stapled one ‘Fracking’ Industry image and one image of an Irish river scene with a superimposed logo of companies involved in the exploration or extraction of Shale Gas & Oil, onto each new baton/table leg extension. Slowly and over time the table was raised higher and higher. As the table was lifted and moved the pendulum of the plumb-line swung revealing the shifting axis. The silver ball on the metal platter on top of the table rolled around loudly. Often water in the bowl splashed onto the table top and dripped onto the floor.As the table rose shorter lengths of wood were discarded and replaced by longer pieces of wood onto which new images were stapled. Each piece of wood detached from the table legs was taken out into the alleyway and placed among the existing rubbish and debris.Eventually the tall table became more unstable and difficult to manoeuvre, the whole lifting process becoming risky, very delicate and prone to collapse. Eventually all the wooden batons were used up and I left the space, with the table standing around three meters tall. This ended the work.The themes, or my concerns, within the work were mainly ecological and socio-political. The raising of the table, (which supported the base of life - water), referred to, or symbolised, our dependence on clean water, an often overlooked support for human life. The new legs made from batons with images from Fracking, Rivers with Company Logos and Anti-Fracking Protests were a direct reference to the increasing destabilisation of the symbolic ‘water table’. The images used referred to the threat to our water courses by Oil & Gas Companies and the protests against these inherent risks.The abandonment of each leg extension into the alleyway referred to our disregard for what is important for our future survival and how this disregard or lack of concern, is at our peril.
Bibliographical notePerformance type: art
- Catalyst Arts
- Water Table Performance
- Anti Fracking Artwork
- Brian Connolly
- Environmental Protest Artwork
- Durational Artwork
- Site-specific artwork.