Towards an Amazonian Black Square, 2019

On the opening night of The Eternal Opening at Carriageworks, Parr will perform Towards an Amazonian Black Square. We do not know what is going to happen during this performance. Drawing on Parr’s outrage at the current wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, the work is an urgent response to an ongoing environmental catastrophe. Documentation of Towards an Amazonian Black Square will be rendered in mirror image and presented on screens within the space. The sound from this performance will play simultaneously over that of LEFT FIELD.

“The smoke from the Amazon fires is a taste of our own medicine. It tastes like ashes.”
Benjamin Kunkel, London Review of Books, 12 September 2019

Artist Mike Parr’s email to curator Beatrice Gralton on 24th October 2019:

“This is now going to become a peculiar last minute email about the performance. I think you realise that the outcome of the performance is quite uncertain…that it has to be this way. As of this very moment I’m still unable to say how the final installation will be resolved because that will come to me as I’m doing the performance. I’m searching as it were for X-amount of the antithetical and only the build-up of the psychological state produced by the performance can determine that. Performance art for me is radical uncertainty and the outcome psychologically is therefore unknowable. The strong reasons that I urgently communicated to Glenn [Thompson] last Friday were all sincere, but they were also the completion of an imaginary that was never certain. A thought experiment put in play to preserve the radical openness of performance art as I understand it.

If I have not arrived at Carriageworks by 10am tomorrow morning then Tom [McKim] & you can assume that nothing is to be changed. That no painting-out is to occur.

If not reclaiming the purity of the space becomes the final form of The Eternal Opening, if Nietzsche’s Eternal Return is finally entropic, then it is a kind of illumination in darkness for me because I will never see the final appearance of the piece except as documentation or through the eyes of the audience… and right at this moment this is the thought that is lifting me.”


Visit The Eternal Opening at Carriageworks, 25 Oct – 8 Dec 2019.