Performances of Asynchronous Time
DOI link for Performances of Asynchronous Time
Performances of Asynchronous Time book
Simon Faithfull begins his performance art piece 0.00 Navigation by swimming ashore at the southern end of England in the town of Peacehaven. As he emerges from the waters of the English Channel, he is fully dressed in black pants and a black sweater. He takes the GPS receiver out of his pocket. He is exactly at the Prime Meridian and starts his walk along this longitude. His project is to walk the entire length of the Meridian across England, regardless of what may get in his way. Immediately obstructing his walk are the large white cliffs of Peacehaven that begin at the edge of the beach. His slow climb up the side of the sheer cliff takes several minutes, but once he reaches the top, he again pulls out his GPS receiver and continues his journey along the line that demarcates Greenwich Mean Time. We see all of the action from the point of view of the camera that is filming him, which is always from behind. Through the black-and-white footage, we follow Faithfull as he stays as true to the Meridian as possible. At times, however, the single cinematographer cannot follow Faithfull’s journey down steep ledges or wading slowly across canals that go up to his chest. Instead, we watch from afar. At other times, we are right on his heels as he hops over picket fences and through the homes of strangers. As Faithfull says of the piece, “I am interested in the maps that we create in our heads. These maps are a combination of our immediate locale (the humdrum everyday world we move in) and the other psychological world that we hear of from afar.”1 0.00 Navigation is a performance of the process of signifying the space of the Prime Meridian. In other words, his is a performance of the lived practice of life along the Meridian as it contrasts with the many imaginaries around this space. For me (somewhat foolishly), the Prime Meridian signaled an emphatic relationship to north-south bearings, yet in most of the footage of Faithfull’s performance streets took odd angles, rarely conforming to the north-south trajectory I had inscribed on my imaginaries of this space. This is
one key element to this project: how our practices of space conform or disrupt the imaginaries of those spaces.