Photo by Colin Roe Ledbetter

Original Press Release – Awaiting, a 12-hour silent group performance on the South Stairs of the Utah State Capitol will take place on April 8, 2010 as a collaboration between visiting artist Ernesto Pujol, University students, and artists from Utah.

Internationally known performance artist Ernesto Pujol is the first Visiting Artist for the Department of Art & Art History in the College of Fine Arts, thanks to a new Marva and John Warnock Endowed Art Residency Program at the University of Utah. Pujol is teaching a unique workshop leading to a large-scale group performance along the south steps of the Utah State Capitol. His durational piece will last 12 hours, from sunset to sunrise. Pujol is creating it in collaboration with University visual arts and modern dance students, and Utah artist Rosi Hayes, who is designing a soundtrack for his meditative piece.

Ernesto Pujol’s interdisciplinary performance practice is influenced by German choreographer Pina Bausch’s exploration of cities, American writer Rebecca Solnit’s reflections on walking, Zen Buddhist notions of consciousness, and contemporary conceptual art’s site-specific exploration of landscape and architecture. The artist chose the Utah State Capitol because of its monochromatic beauty, emblematic quality, and vertical monumentality. The 12-hour meditative piece promises to slowly draw a space-within-the-space, temporarily creating an ephemeral field for individual reflections on the regional theme of waiting.

“A durational piece manifests the slow passage of time, not only on the body of the performer and the natural landscape, but on the audience. In fact, the audience forms its permeable urban cloister wall, the outer circle of the performance, completing it with their own patient, silent thoughts as they witness it,” says Pujol.

Awaiting will begin in the late afternoon, mixing itself with the city’s rush hour traffic. Silent individual walkers in contemporary secular white clothing will appear throughout the city and may be followed by pedestrians. The performers will gather quietly at the foot of the South Stairs before sunset for a moment of stillness, and then begin a long silent evening, ascending and descending the State Capitol’s many steps, turning them into a great biblical Jacob’s ladder. Docents will be available to answer questions from passersby. The event is free to the public, which is encouraged to see the beginning of the piece at 6:00 PM, visit it throughout the night, and return to witness its silent ending at 7:00 AM, when the performers will walk back into the city, disappearing humbly.

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