Wireframe, At Home

Review in Issue 12-1 | Spring 2000

Small-scale performances are getting smaller it seems. And more intimate. Like Deborah Warner’s The Tower Project or Stan’s Cafe’s It’s Your Film, this installation by Wireframe is created for an audience of only one.

The auditorium has been transformed into a magical reservation of glowing wigwams, some small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, others large enough to climb inside. Hieroglyphs marked on their sides signify there’s something inside to see. Crouched on the floor, I gingerly make my way amongst the wigwams, discovering the hidden scenes within. Thumb-sized people, modelled roughly from clay, are engaged in various domestic activities. Discovering them, I feel like Gulliver in Lilliput or Alice in Wonderland. I also have this curious sense that I am being watched: as I look inside each wigwam, someone from the lighting box cues a new sound effect to correspond with the scene inside. And I soon discover I am not the only living participant in this motionless world – there’s also a puppet. I come face to face with him inside one of the wigwams, where he entertains me with a magic trick. He seems rather sad and lonely in this pretty but inanimate landscape. An old-fashioned biplane – which may be his only hope of escape – is jammed inside another wigwam, unlikely to fly again.

This is a fascinating environment to discover, one that is full of signs and wonders. Wireframe create a subtle, sensual and mystical space for quiet contemplation and unexpected revelation. It’s a magical installation, full of the pleasure of playful discovery. The very last wigwam is large enough to enter. It is sensuously furnished with a fiokati rug and an armchair. There is a chocolate marked ‘eat me’ and some modelling clay. I make a little model of my own, not unlike the ones I’ve already seen. And as I sit in the armchair, I realise that I am also a character in Wireframe’s intriguing domestic drama. And leave the performance with a feeling of pure, unadulterated joy.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-1
p. 21