Axel Juhlin-Dannfelt on Unannounced

”Unannounced” by Heine Avdal and Yukiki Shinozaki, passed– preceeded by one, and followed by two more – at MDT on the eve of the 29th of March this year. It was short lived, as most performances are wont to be. But as such things are counted. it was a vibrant and joyful one.

It was a performance that sought to extend the itself beyond the normal confines of a performative event, by placing printed cards of cryptic imagery amongst the audience, and leading them on a guided tour, or treasure hunt of sorts, through the venue: All in their separate groups with their own guides leading them along different paths, guides projecting words and scattered sentences to highlight objects and places, fragmentary but not disjointed, more an accompaniment on our journey.

The guides led onwards before congregating via various entries on a stage reminiscent of the inside of a black box, milling around in front of empty rows of chairs. We exchanged glances, audience (or perhaps participants, rather) and performers, brief smiles and nods, tension and uncertainty before settling in, standing in groups, pairs or by ourselves. Performance taking place amongst its spectators, weaving around and between them. Sound and silence, lights, darkness, shadows and projections, the sudden appearance of a bounty of fruit before us. Projected words and sentences on a great screen flowing together, breaking apart, reforming and never ceasing; all an attempt at distension. It was fun, great fun in fact. Lively, hearty fare on eyes hungry for spectacle. Was it new? Hardly. After all, these sorts of attempts at “expanding” an event have been used time and again for over a century now. It played, it tinkered, with states, objects, tensions and perceptions, made a point of the temporality of itself. Yet… we already knew this, nothing was new about these insights, it moved us not forward, but rather around in familiar circles of form rather than content. 

Still, as we left, I was elated, happy, energized. A trail of fruit led the way, “the party continues this way” (metaphorically speaking, I guess). I picked up an avocado and an orange, tossed them into my bag – fruit is hella good.

The next day, as I eat the avocado, memories flood back. I remember those cards and realise that, far from being cryptic, they had been descriptions, visions. Now they are documentation. I eat the orange and think. And with it, “Unannounced” finally passes from this world in a final tiny little extension. A sense of gratitude follows. 

Curious, how that actually worked.