The Telepathy Project
Veronica Kent and Sean Peoples
Next Wave Festival
Forum Theatre Melbourne, 20-24 May 2008
& Poster Note Publication launch
Sticky Institute, Degraves Subway Melbourne, 19 July 2008
In May the Next Wave Festival hit Melbourne at its usual break neck speed. Situated on the corner of Flinders and Russell Streets in a south-facing window of the Forum theatre, Veronica Kent and Sean Peoples’ Telepathy Project provided a moment for pause not only within the festival itself but peak hour traffic in Melbourne’s CBD. Kent and Peoples divided the rarely used space into two self-contained rooms, wallpapered with photo-landscapes of rainforest and autumn forests respectively, the crochet blankets covering both floors and décor of each room colour-coordinated accordingly.
For four and a half hours a day, over a five-day period Kent and Peoples occupied the two separate rooms, completely isolated from each other but in full view of the general public. Every 15 minutes the artists would attempt to communicate with each other telepathically. Then rising from prone positions, stretched out on the floor or lying on their daybeds, they sat at identical sets of Ikea table and stool to document these transactions. The drawn results on oversized yellow post-it notes were time-coded, dated, labelled sent and received and stuck onto the window for us to see.
Kent and Peoples’ ongoing telepathic collaborations with signature New Age hippie meets psychedelic arts and crafts aesthetic are resolved without appearing laboured. The delivery of performative works, requiring commitment and lengthy periods of endurance, grounds their practice in a 1960s and 70s tradition of collaborative performance, like duos Marina Abramovic and Ulay or more recently Smith/Stewart. Although their telepathic communications rarely hit the mark, like the drawings of a monkey with a smoke versus an unpeeled banana, the beauty and humour lies in the close calls of the results and the attempt itself.
The Telepathy Project is documented in Poster Note Publication, a self-published compilation of telepathic 'post-it note' drawings made during the telepathic performance.