PICA, The Geography of Haunted Places

Review in Issue 9-3 | Autumn 1997

This was an extraordinary piece – one of the under-acclaimed peaks of LIFT – which traversed the borders between theatre and performance art, took risks, confronted the audience, played with and interrogated its material. The Geography of Haunted Places deconstructed the experience of the white colonist, no longer ‘the owner of an empty land’ but faced with a complex indigenous culture. The piece produced fragments of images, words and sounds that struck at colonial and racist attitudes in white Europe.

A soundscape of sea, wind and music alongside a terrain of stuffed marsupials, muslins and a chaise-lounge became the setting for Miss Discovery to confront the meaning of identity now when it can no longer be predicated on the destruction and refusal to recognise the identity of ‘the other’. At times the piece seemed to be floating across the ideas it was playing with, but the power of the performer – her performance in itself – and the images evoked always made the ideas concrete, always coming back to an aesthetic political centre based on risk, interrogation and confrontation.

This was a rare piece that was not frightened of ideas, theory or history but presented these through a theatrical language. The performance was an integrated whole. Thus the performance was the text – the text was the performance. It was a piece of physical/total theatre which integrated spectacle, ideas, space and performances very much in its own way.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-3
p. 22