We relinquish our shoes and our worldly goods and we are brought to a waiting area. We are given instructions in hushed tones as if entering a place of worship. Instead we are to become slugs. While we wait, a group of performers are sitting and lying in a room full of soft, pale objects which form architecture and props. They are re-configuring the objects around them and piling them on top of each other. One by one, we are lead away to the tent which contains the slugs' garden and we lie down.
I am trying to close my eyes but the bright colours and light keep leading me back to my visual sense. The visiting slugs are static at first but the existing slugs are already moving. One of them is sitting on my hair. Another one has its feet in my face. I put my hands over my face and assume a foetal position as a protective reflex which inadvertently makes me more slug-like.
In the silence, the proximity and position of other bodies is audible through breathing, and through the rustling of the fabric which envelops us and follows our gradual adjustments in waves. The name for a group of slugs is a cornucopia. There is no determined pattern to the movements. Decisions are not individual but spread across various bodies. We are a protean mass of matter, combining action, reaction and inaction.
Today I saw a turtle sitting under the bridge in Josaphat Park. I stared at it for a long time until it began to move one of its limbs, a movement so protracted as to be almost imperceptible. It was like a rock in its hard slowness. This creature's pace seems to be connected to its longevity, its life stretched out by gradual transitions. Feeling everything in slow motion.
Similarly, the experience of the temporal and physical are connected in the cornucopia. Reacting to gradual changes in temperature, pressure,and sound, my perception of time comes about through a continuum of movements, and the activity of moving itself becomes a kind of perception.
Lucy for DRAFF
Slugs' Garden / Cultivo de Babosas by Fabián Barba & Esteban Donoso ran at La Bellone as part of Kunstenfestivaldasarts, Brussels from 6th - 14th May 2017. It was co-produced by deSingel International Arts Campus (Antwerp), Life Long Burning/workspacebrussels with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.
Header image: Koen Broos