Rewriting Participation: Takuya Murakawa’s »Everett Ghost Lines«

For his project „Everett Ghost Lines“, the Japanese author and director Takuya Murakawa writes letters to friends, loose acquaintances, or foreigners, asking them to come to a theatre venue on a designated day at a designated time and perform an action: Sit on a chair and wait for someone who will cut your hair. Stop by the theatre during a run, and lie down on the stage floor next to a duct-taped silhouette. Stand in front of a microphone and tell the audience a story about the sea … The performance starts as scheduled and runs for its full time, whether the letters’ addressees appear or not. The audience gets to read the script, which is being projected on the rear wall of the stage. Written words, thus, fill in for absent performers. Writing assists performance instead of claiming the status of an origin or original inspiration. Thanks to text taking on the role of a temp, an odd hand helping out, Murakawa is able to produce a collective artistic work from the casual, noncommittal, notoriously unreliable relations that make up much of our everyday life. His approach presents an organizational alternative to subjecting art to the sovereign power that is effective in procedures of casting and assures the authority of the legally binding contract, while it also avoids the socio-economic management of networking, which instrumentalizes intimate relations and their emotional intensity in order to generate peer pressure and make ‘free’ cooperation compelling.

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