The performance takes James Joyce’s novel Ulysses as an inspiration; the protagonist’s journey and encounters with a variety of women. These staged meetings with archetypal characters explore the behavioural patterns of people on the run; men and women in search to forget, with a longing for union and permanence. The piece questions intimacy and trust in moments of solitude, fragility, exclusion and rejection.
VestAndPage describe their methodology as ‘anthro-poetic’; exploring how aspects of culture can be rendered and expressed corporally. The artists’ uphold the hypothesis that language, religion, art, politics, and all things specifically human, can be traced to a single primal source of origin. Thus, their approach to practice is with reverence for the ancient past. Through performance they are concerned with expressing and upholding the age-old notion of ethics grounded in the fundamentals of human existence.
As live artists, the pair view their bodies as potential signs. The gestures they make, in relation to the props they employ and environments they inhabit, communicate in an intricate language of bodily incidents, rich with implicit cultural references. They describe their performances as process-based, as many of the actions and gestures that ensue between them are neither predetermined nor intentional. Highly attentive to their physical partnership, they value each others’ gestural differences and individual approaches to collaborative acts. The artists describe their performances as ‘a continuous discovery’; a reciprocal engagement wavering between forcefulness and tenderness, infused with a sense of personal and shared catharsis.
Through repetitive acts and testing their limits physically, VestAndPage pursue a transitory state of estrangement from ordinary reality. This shamanistic methodology heightens their responsiveness to the present moment. As they suggest; ‘we must look again and again, because nothing is the same as what was a moment before’. They describe one’s sense of identity as illusory; ‘encased within a body that has been formed by, and conforms to, a given cultural norm’. According to the artists, our understanding of maleness or femaleness, is predominantly the conditioning of social and cultural patterns and practices, sometimes manipulated and even enforced; varying considerably, not only from country to country, but from person to person. Through performance, the duo aim to breakdown and disband these restrictive social codes, thus liberating themselves while urging the audience to consider their own dispositions.