Photographs by audience member and artist Samuel Dowd

'Shit Screaming'
Performance at the Alytus Biennale 2, Lithuania. 2007.


I moved throughout a series of abandoned apartments. In each room I screamed and screamed into a paper bag taken from the wall. In this way I filled the bag with expelled breath and burst it open before moving into the next room. In the last room I slowly pushed the paper bag I wore over my head into my mouth and squatted down amongst the age-old human faeces lining the floor and let the bag fall out of my mouth amongst it.

This performance was partly inspired by the abandoned two-roomed apartments it is performed in. The peeling wallpaper and the traces of habitation provide a disturbing and sinister backdrop. The voice and its relationship with space and surface are at the heart of the actions performed and the vocal noises produced explore the sonic resonance of the spaces in which they happen. Filling the bag, the performed scream is both released and contained and the bursting of the bags comes as a kind of relief after the effort of producing the initial noise.

Breathing into paper bags is associated with the easing of panic. A bag placed over the head simultaneously hides and draws attention to anxiety. Holes are torn and the eyes and the mouth are exposed - the "in" and the "out". The act of pushing the bag in the face is an arresting action that demands attention and provokes unease both for the audience and for the performer.