Denis Beaubois          

  The Accidental Contract    

“The accidental contract.” was performed at Eddie Ave Central in Sydney.  The performer stood on the outskirts of a busy thoroughfare with his back facing the constant stream of pedestrians.  Pinned onto his back was a sign stating : “Warning you may be photographed reading this sign.” Also situated behind the performer’s back and below the sign, was a small photographic camera which was randomly triggered to record fragments of the passing public.   The performers position at first seemed passive, opened to the gaze of the public, and defenceless (as there is no way to physically challenge or match the audience’s voyeurism).  Defenceless until the sign is read which indicates to the audience that they too may be the target of observation, via the camera.  The cameras gaze although removed from subjective presence remains poignant, as it alludes to evidence (being caught in the act and proof of guilt).  The voyeur may be unmistakably captured in the permanent frame that is the photograph.  One which is not erased with the passing of time and the steady decay of memory. What was once a personal exchange is transformed into a public trial where one party’s actions may be visually recorded and presented to the jury (those who view the photograph), the contract has been fulfilled, an exchange of glances.

The Accidental contract adheres to the performance conventions established by the Amnesia work.  It relies heavily on the secondary (transient) audience as viewer and enables the passing public to also adopt the role of performer.  The figure, armed with the objective camera, becomes a portable panopticon.  Tension exists in the absence of the performers vision, which transforms him into an object for the pedestrian’s gaze .  The body as lure, the glance as participation and the captured image as evidence of the accidental contract.  The candid photographic moment is fractured by the realisation that one has been exposed by the camera and incriminated by light.

Denis Beaubois

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