The Flying Swan

The Flying Swan, 2001
25 min. performance performed at the opening of the group show Location, at Trinity Buoy Wharf

When people arrived at the show The Dying Swan was lying on the floor, hooked in his fur/skin to a crane. The crane was a huge old industrial crane integrated in the architecture and was controlled by a remotecontrol hanging down from the ceiling. Next to me on the dirty floor was a huge pile of 20 kg of white feathers and a bin containing 1200 liters of black tar-like liquid.
At some point a person from the audience picked up the remote control, lifted me up and slowly dipped me into the "tar". It took a while for him to hit the bin, because I was swinging several meters from side to side because of the long wire. After having dipped me into the tar, I was gently laid down again into the pile of feathers. Some from the audience joined in and started to cover me with feathers. Soon after this another person from the audience took over the remote control and dipped me again into the tar and feather. This was repeated over again three times before I gave a signal to stop the performance. During the whole performance I tried not to move but just to hang with my legs and arms down in the same "dead" position.

This performance obviously is dealing with a power play between me and the audience. But it also functions on several symbolic levels. There is a contradiction between the heavy hanging body and the aspect of flying. He never really flies, and though he is covered with white feather all over he never becomes a swan, he is more humiliated and dirty than proud and beautiful. There is as well an absurdity of a bird being covered with feathers.

The Flying Swan
8 min of 25 min performance
Performed at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London 2001