Roisin Jenkinson, a fourth year student at the Dublin Institute of Technology, describes her first experience participating in Livestock — Performance Art Platform. She made her debut during “Sacred Space” as part of the winter 2015 Dublin Live Art Festival at DIT Grangegorman.
by Roisin Jenkinson
I could feel my nerves begin to bubble up in my stomach as I took those first few steps towards the twenty meters of iridescent film I installed to hang down from the balcony of St. Laurence Church at DIT Grangegorman to stretch across the length of the floor like an iridescent pathway. I walked slowly head first into the film to then walk underneath, using my hands to control it from falling beside me rather than being above me. I walked from one end of the installation to the other, where I exited a door only to re-enter the building from another door at the beginning of the iridescent pathway, where I recommenced my walk. I did this several times for approximately twenty minutes, creating a loop of presence and absence, presence and absence. As the performance progressed, my nerves dissipated and adrenaline coursed through me instead. The light that cast through and reflected off the iridescent film was delicate and subtle, creating light pinks, greens and blues. In my absence from the installation, the film was silent, but when I entered the space and began interacting with the film by walking beneath it, my presence activated it in light and sound.While I was still aware that people were watching me, I put them in the background of my mind and as a result became more comfortable.
During preparation for the event, I received so much support and encouragement from Eleanor Lawler, Francis Fay and Katherine Nolan. Other than organising the event, they gave me feedback that helped me realise my ideas. The entire atmosphere of “Sacred Space” was easy and enjoyable. I performed at the beginning of the event, so after that I just sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the show as part of the audience. Because I was not just an audience member, but also one of the performers, I had two roles as it were, which brings me back to the notion of presence and absence. While in my performance I was either present or absent, my role in the full event was neither and both. It was a strange and intriguing experience of feeling both present and absent as both a performer and viewer. It is somewhat similar to how Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, describes the feeling of being within and without. He was present in the narrative of those peoples’ lives, yet he was also just a witness. During ‘Sacred Space’ I was present as a performer while disconnected with the audience and present as a witness to the performances that followed me while also having had performed myself. It is difficult to explain this ‘inbetween’ space, however I can say it was a positive experience that also brought me out of my comfort zone.