Water Banquet (performance/installation)
A table of water, thirty feet long and six feet wide;
a cyclical but constantly evolving banquet
of sound, image and story;
of memory, meeting and departure... and some spoons.
'Water Banquet' is the generic title of a series of performance and installation
works stemming from the placement and animation of an extraordinary table
of water, thirty feet long and six feet wide. Each manifestation of the
'Water Banquet' is uniquely prepared in response to the particular architecture
and character of the host location, and the nature, needs and interests
of the host venue and its community. 'Water Banquet' is currently available
in four versions, or forms, each of which may be taken in isolation or
in combination with any of the other three:
1. Installation (object)
At the simplest level, the 'Water Banquet' table may be taken as an installed
object, to be sited as an extraordinary intervention in public spaces.
With its surface acting as a perfect mirror, the installation works particularly
successfully in locations offering viewpoints from different levels, a
strong architectural presence, and changing conditions of light. Where
the site allows, it is preferred to include a curtain of rain falling
into the table (which acts also as a projection screen for still/moving
imagery) and to 'burn' the surface intermittently, for periods of approximately
four minutes at a time. Accompanied by ambient sound, the table as installed
object sustains in itself as a work of enduring power and beauty.
2. Installation (animation)
As above, with the addition over the duration of the event (2 - 3 days
is recommended) of performed 'settings' of the table. Here, the table
is waited upon and publicly prepared, over the duration of approximately
one hour, three times each day. Whilst the activity of each setting is
an understated performance in itself, the result ('The Field of Forks',
or 'Disolving Photographs With Leaves', for example) offers a new and
evocative rendering of the table which is allowed to sustain in its own
right for a period of time before the next 'course' is prepared for and
set. These animations may be watched remotely, or from the position of
sitting at the table. The terms of encounter and interaction are variable
according to the settings, the most direct perhaps being the 'Toast' where
the table is burnt as the conclusion to the serving of a drink to those
3. Performance ('Aqua Impura')
Where possible it is the company's preference to offer the installed manifestations
of 'Water Banquet' in combination with the performance 'Aqua Impura'.
'Aqua Impura', is delivered to an audience of only eighteen gathered at
the table. Borrowing the structure of social dining, these eighteen guests
are served a series of offerings (grouped as 'Beginnings', 'Middles' and
'Ends') chosen from a menu of alternatives. These offerings, however,
are not of food, but of sound, image, object and action which, whilst
complete in themselves and individually served, together form a field
of activity which encompasses the entire table. It is the juxtaposition
of the public and private, of the shared and the personal, that distinguishes
the experience and genuinely acknowledges and embraces the presence and
necessity of each guest. It is this, too, together with the initial element
of choice, that makes each sitting of 'Aqua Impura' unique and unrepeatable.
Reviews of 'Aqua Impura'.
The Exchange/Collaboration programme (recommended duration, 7 - 14 days)
takes the concept of the Water Banquet as a provocation for artistic exchange
and collaboration. Following a lead-in period of liaison managed by the
host venue, local artists working within diverse media are invited to
collaborate with core members of U-Man Zoo in the making of new work as
a result of this initial provocation. There is no pre-conceived notion
of the artistic fields from which potential collaborators might come.
The 'Wardrobes Residency' (co-produced with Project Arts, Dublin, 2001)
brought together over thirty artists from Ireland whose working disciplines
ranged from architecture and painting to butoh dance and paper-making.
Each Exchange/Collaboration will conclude in a final 'serving' - a showing,
presentation, or even complete performance - made in a form appropriate
to each association of practitioners.
For further information contact Cathy Piquemal (Project Producer) via
For other contact details click here.