A performative Enquiry by Simone Aughterlony and Jorge León
As a group that is granted and exercises discretionary power over society at large, the police corps is simultaneously part of the fabric of society and on the periphery of it, an imposed net that suffocates dissent or expressions of otherness from the normative social frame. In Uni * Form, the disguised performers intra-act in a distinct environment that disturbs the established boundaries and unpredictable abuse of distance and touch associated with police control. At the heart of this performance is a play between the domination of desire, the ubiquity of power and a deep interest in human (and non-human) interactions, as performers forge ways of negotiating a sense of togetherness and the inevitability of being intimately bound.
The children have left, the game is over. The space is scattered with residues of play and confused entertainment. Six adults replace the kid’s presence. They wear police uniform but are not sure of the use they can still make of it.
Irreverent toward the function that the uniform symbolizes, their actions and interactions render a paradox between the familiarity of immediate recognition and the alienation of self-identification. Surrounded and scrutinized by the audience, the uniformed performers are trying to do their « police work ». They try, they fail, they try again and find that failure is their style. In unsettling and unsettled instances of embodiment the vulnerability of all bodies emerges and becomes tangible. Power is a force but they have forgotten how to activate it.
The inefficiency of their ‘police work’ takes time and the incorporated gendering of bodies adds to the ambiguity of the appearing and dissolving images. Authority lies in the audience’s gaze but where should they place their sympathy, their antipathy ? Abuse is never far away. Sexuality can be empowering but tends to hover in threatening clouds. If we release the police of its own authority what kind of theatre game is at stake : can we open up a mutable landscape in which domination and submission are interrelated forces that resist conforming to a simple binary and like power are practiced rather than possessed ?