The 'I, Cave Ceremony' marked the opening of Georgina Starr's solo exhibition 'I,Cave' at mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) on 9th April 2015.
The performance, which began as a procession through the mima gallery atrium, activated key elements of Starr's installation with performed poetry, sound and scripted action. The poems were spoken, shouted and sung by the performers inside and around 'The Tunnel' (2015), a large sculpture which served as mouth piece, stage, entrance, exit and speaker chamber. The performers enacted specific choreographed movement relating to the sculptures, costumes, photographs and drawings in the exhibition. Starr conducted the action from behind a typewriter where the sounds and colours of the words being typed dictated the tempo of the ceremony. Two 12" vinyl records, Alberto Ginastera's 1967 opera 'Bomarzo'* and Starr's own record 'Mum Sings Hello'** played central roles in the performance alongside a cast of 5 female performers, 10 year old twin girls and a case of emerging Emperor Moths. Starr has described the piece as being partly inspired by a vision she had while visiting Bomarzo, the Parco dei Mostri (Park of Monsters), a 16th century sculpture park in Italy created by Pier Francesco Orsini. "I was bitten by a spider in Bomarzo and later had a lucid vision where I was guided by two children through a series of caves, holes, rooms, tunnels and orifices. The encounters I had there were so vivid that I recalled them as a true memory rather than a fiction or dream." Taking this vision as her point of departure Starr developed a transhistorical narrative which became both the cornerstone of the exhibition ('I,Cave', 4 panel text piece, 2015) and the libretto for the opening ceremony. The work occupies a space between sculpture, literature, history, theatre and possession ritual.
Cast and objects in order of appearance :
The Archaeologist : Nicola Singh
Chorus Mysticus : Sarah O'Brien, Heike Salzer, Faye Green, Rose Payne
The' Bomarzo' LP*
The Lleu Llaw
The Stenographer/Writer : Georgina Starr
The Moth-Eaten Children : Ushi and Nanook Welch
The Lepidopterist's Case
The Emperor and Empress Moths
Portrait of 'R'
The Bubble Gum coins
The Great Mother : Voice of Christine Starr on 'Mum Sings Hello' (1993-2009)
The 'Mum Sings Hello' vinyl record
*Bomarzo LP : The Bomarzo Opera libretto is based on the novel (written by Manuel Mujica Lainez) about the Parco dei Mostri (The Monster Park) a sculpture garden in Italy created by Pier Francesco Orsini in the 1500's. At the beginning of the opera Orsini drinks a potion dispensed by his Astrologer which causes him to see his whole life in flashbacks. He eventually dies inside of 'The Mouth of the Monster' sculpture (Orcus).
** Mum Sings Hello (21 minutes, 1993-2009) is an audio work which began as a message left by Starr's mother on her telephone answer machine in 1993. Yearly the recording has been transferred from tape to tape over 16 years. The vinyl record holds the voice recording as it goes through the sonic ageing process.
Written & directed by Georgina Starr
Photographed by Paul Noble, Colin Davison & Judy Hume
Sound recording by David McPhee at Aurora House, Teesside University
Special thanks to mima, Paul Noble, Grainne Sweeney, Rachel Lowther, Nicola Singh, Ushi Welch, Nanook Welch, Sarah O'Brien, Heike Salzer, Faye Green, Rose Payne, David McPhee & Teesside University.
Interview with Georgina Starr about 'I,Cave' : http://mapmagazine.co.uk/9807/interview-dominic-paterson-talks-georgina-starr/