Archive for the ‘Exercise 1: Re:horse’ Category

Exercise 1: Re:horse

9 February 2010

Director: Jon Mikel Euba

Date: February 9th

Venue: Halls 3.2 and 3.1

Open to the public between 18:00 and 20:00 hours (maximum 60 people)

Re:horse is a live rehearsal; it is conceived as a project “on tour”; it is a live performance displaying real elements (a person holding a horse, an audience, the artist and his assistants) and how that reality is converted into images, whilst revealing the effort required to produce those images. Re:horse is a translation that uses video cameras as its tools and camera-persons as its performers.

Two cameras record the same subject on video: a person holding a horse (a reference drawn from a visual document of Joseph Beuys’ performance Titus/Ifigenia). The shoot follows the patterns of Warhol’s film The Velvet Underground and Nico, adapted into a score for the purpose. Throughout the action’s duration, the remaining participants translate what is going on into static image form (i.e., photographs), following the pattern established by the set of patterns: Notes for a Direction. After minute 45, some of these people shall become models and active agents in the performance, a role for which they shall be coached before the event.

The idea behind Re:horse arose at a workshop held at Musac in 2005 and has been staged at Genk, Utrecht and Amsterdam. Originally, the performance required two cameras (Jon Mikel Euba plus one guest camera operator). This time, in order to develop the exercise’s experimental scope, the approach shall be adapted to the special conditions provided by PRIMER PROFORMA through the following adjustments:

1- 12 to 14 camera-persons shall take turns during the performance.

2- The performance shall be executed twice in succession with no interruption, doubling its usual one-hour duration.

3- New exercises shall be suggested as forms of taking down visual and written records.

The purpose of this exercise is to establish the conditions for the event to be a true live-action rehearsal for a group of people who did not previously know each other (PROFORMA participants), before others who are equally unacquainted (the museum audience). Specifically, the action intends to configure a team defined by its ability to execute Re:horse before an audience.

In order to inquire into the difficulty inherent to describing and understanding an event that requires one’s active presence through a third-party account, in 2007 I reached an agreement with a specific person, the art critic Miren Jaio, whereby she would be banned from seeing Re:horse live. Instead, I asked her to interview people who had either played an active role in the performance or had seen it from the audience, in order to build up an image of it through the experiences of others. To date, Miren has held a total of 13 interviews, mainly in Belgium, Holland and Spain. Last year we reached a second agreement, considering the information she was handling had reached a limit and it was time to stop.

This time around, Miren Jaio will be the first external guest invited to take part in an exercise at PRIMER PROFORMA. She shall thus be able to compare the impression of what Re:horse was all about that she had developed through other people’s narratives with her own real experience of attending in the audience.


On the performance Re: horse at León

Just before the horse entered the Museum, while it was still out in the courtyard, I observed it was exceptionally nervous. I stepped outside and asked its owner what was wrong, thinking fear was holding it back from entering the building. He replied there was nothing wrong and, with a smile, told me an anecdote about the last time Cazal had seen his reflection in a shop window and how he got so aggressive against that ‘other’ horse that he lurched into the glass, smashing his way into the shop.

(This is how Re:horse began for me at MUSAC).

Once inside, and from the very start of the performance, the horse neighed and thrashed about menacingly. To my surprise, when I asked again what was wrong, the owner explained that Cazal took his reflection on the screen to be another horse and, since he was “whole”, was intent on defending his territory.

(Could it not be that he refused to be divided?).

Re:horse uses Warhol’s 1966 film The Velvet Underground and Nico by way of a score. In the film we see a 64-minute Velvet Underground rehearsal at the Factory. The film ends with the police interrupting the jam.

The film begins with a close-up shot of Nico, then moves on to a family frame of the band and, once the police raid the building, it becomes a document recording the entire Factory venue on that day, including cops, audience and Warhol himself. Minute 43’03 is when the ‘other’ makes his appearance: a person who is not a band member enters the frame – a cop, the authorities, the other reality.

At León, at the same point where the cops burst into the film we were projecting, a threatening and very, very nervous man came up to me while I was directing the cameras and asked me with great authority: “WHO IS RESPONISBLE FOR ALL THIS?” When I replied it was the Museum, he wondered if we were finding pleasure in the situation. Faced with my bewilderment at not knowing who I was talking to, he identified himself, saying: “I AM THE EDITOR OF A HORSE MAGAZINE AND THAT HORSE IS UNDER STRESS. SO MUCH STRESS IT COULD DIE ANY MINUTE”. I asked him if he would like to speak to the horse’s owner, he retorted it was not up to him to speak to anyone, so I again turned to the owner, who again assured me everything was fine.

The exercise was initially planned as a performance meant to last from 6 to 8 pm, but as I myself faced the risk of dying of stress, I wrapped up the exercise at that point. It was 7 pm.

Jon Mikel Euba

Invitada: Miren Jaio