Robert Pacitti Company, Evidence of Life After Death

Review in Issue 11-3 | Autumn 1999

Robert Pacitti is best known for making work that explores issues of sexuality, race, gender and class which he maps onto the social body. His latest project explores the disappearance of the body itself, and combines performance, video and sound to contemplate the social, somatic and cellular aspects of death and dying. Pacitti demonstrates an impressive range of creative involvements in this show – as well as conceiving and co-performing the piece itself, he has made the video and written and sung/performed the score – and every aspect of the work is marked by his combination of solemnity and sly humour.

The most interesting concept at play in this piece is the use of performance itself as an allegory of dying. A digital clock at the edge of the stage begins to count down from sixty minutes as the show begins, and clicks onto zero as the climactic closure is reached. Other images of being and vanishing – a tray of ice cubes before an electric heater, a mass of insects, four old women making a pot of tea – glitter in the piece as so many memento mori, and remain vivid in the mind long after the performance fades away.

The show does not always avoid its own stated aims of escaping the weightiness of grief, and is at times too sombrely performed and abstracted to realise the universal potential of the subject. Nonetheless, the range of formal and conceptual experimentations visibly active in this piece mark it as a fascinating and often beautiful meditation on what it means to live, to die, and to fill the spaces in-between.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jul 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-3
p. 19