Joan Morey’s COL·LAPSE. Màquina possible
(COLLAPSE. Possible machine) took place on 23 July in Palma de Mallorca. Conceived for two bodies
, a single voice, and live organ accompaniment, the performance was an adaptation
of the prologue and first act of TOUR DE FORCE
(2017). A small audience was confined in the rooms of the Can Balaguer, including its grand music room, with two of the original performers. Surrounded by sumptuous textiles and baroque furniture and with a motion capture camera attached to her head, the lead actress
embodied HIV/AIDS, the virus and disease. Her monologue was based on two texts by playwright Antonin Artaud in which he confronted the total breakdown of his physical and psychological unity. Decades before the outbreaks of HIV or Covid-19, Artaud would have understood intuitively the viscerally productive ritual of impersonating a virus—something that is neither a living being nor a machine.
A curious aspect of Màquina possible
within Morey’s career is that it is one of the only performances
he has created for a domestic space. Morey’s previous site-specific projects
have mainly focused on the power of classically modern institutions of social control and political normalisation: a chapel of a hospital, an anatomical amphitheatre, and a panoptic prison, among them. Despite its palatial splendour, Can Balaguer was a private home.
One of the key epidemiological and cultural features of the restrictions seen in Spain and many other countries during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis was that domestic space was revealed as a new area of biopolitical jurisdiction. During the confinement many people were forced, for the first time, to consume and produce in a way long familiar to artists and cultural producers: working from home. Moreover, with the collapse of wage labour together with domestic life, it could also be like living at work.
Conceived before the recent pandemic, then distorted by it, and finally adapted to it in the sinister wake of the ‘new normal’, Màquina possible
was both a symptom, a prognosis, and a magnification of infectious agents that are too small to be seen. The performance was presented
in the context of the exhibition COLLAPSE: Bachelor Machine
, curated by Latitudes
, which continues
at Casal Solleric
, Palma de Mallorca, until 6 September 2020.