Let's Expand The Sky – in Black and White

(c)Estate Hugo Roelandt
Post Performance Project 1, 1980

'The first POST-performance-project. A dialogue between MECHANICAL DEVICES (a taperecorder and a phone-answering machine) replaces the action of the performer (he sits by and listens).' - Hugo Roelandt

< King Kong, Antwerp, may 1980

< ICC, Antwerp

< 'Echelle A', Plan K., Brussels, 1981

Hugo Roelandt and Paul Geladi developed Post Performance Project 1 in reaction to the institutionalisation of performance art. They wanted to protest against the imposition of implicit ‘rules’ in performance that limit the possibilities inherent to the medium. For example, the presence of the artist, the unity of time and place, the role of the performer’s body etc. are taken for granted and even expected by the public. Performance art is turned into ‘just another’ genre of artistic activity. These rules were broken in Post Performance Project 1. The physical appearance of the artist limited itself to being seated and listening to his own voice, on a tape recorder, in dialogue with another tape recorder. The preparation of the piece was given more prominence. During the performance itself the machines took over. This shift of attention was the starting point, but at the same time also the subject matter of Post Performance Project 1. In dialogue with Geladi, Roelandt tried to find a practical form for this rejection of traditional formats. These conversations were recorded, the dialogue structured [in a try-out titled The First Telephone Conversation] and this resulted in the final tape recording. At the performance the spectator noticed how the installation in front of her/him was being set up by means of the text that retraced the genesis of the project. A desk with three chairs. One for the performer, the others stood in front of a tape recorder and a phone. There were three desk lamps and three microphones. The two recorders talked to each other. The artist was present but was superfluous. The project considers the dialogue between two persons. This communication progresses in a discontinuous way. A banal conversation is turned by means of modern recording machines into a clear dialogue. The spectator could reflect on her/his own mind processes and their expression.

(Abstracts from Hugo Roelandt: Let's Expand The Sky, red. Mark Holthof, Occasional Papers, London, 2016)