No Fixed Abode

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With the setting of the sun, Paco – a traditional Spanish equestrian who lives by the banks of La Mata salt lakes – was to perform on the furthermost tip of the modernist pier in the nearest town: up to now, a stage without an invite. The passing of a cargo ship on the horizon and the increasing fluorescence of the spotlights with the receding of the sun were to mark the passage of time.

We wanted to enter into a process of translation with Paco – both ideological and economic – played out through negotiating performance. Asking Paco (and horse) to stand still and to look out to sea – to perform not performing – was a means of articulation far more acute than any previous conversation. It was within this short, negotiated period of being public that - through gesture and inferred meaning – our respective languages of reasoning (pathos) began to diminish. It was here that Paco visibly fell in, out and beyond character; from gazing imperially out to sea (as he was expecting us to want, to daydream and apathy, to the consolation of the horse, and a tangible resistance to look around at the assembling crowd who expected him to perform.

It is interesting that Paco himself cuts a face and an outline that would not look out of place on Sunset Boulevard. The Hollywood film industry was constituted within the early modernist programme as a tool with which to refine the identity of a specific society in line with that programme. Exploring ‘flamenco as a contradictory form – both neo-primitive and modern, Spanish and gypsy and therefore a-national, as a fixed text and as an improvisational, bodily performance...’ Pedro G. Romero in Preparatory Notes for Poetics and Politics among Flamenco and Modern Artists: A Paradoxical Place, besets flamenco as antithetical to a culture industry and a medium geared towards encoding what Giorgio Agamben describes as the “people’ in the sense of homeland, nation and state...’.

The documentation of this performance was shown as part of The Plaza Principle curated by Chris Bloor and Derek Horton in the huge disused TK. MAXX building in Leeds city centre.