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Annie Abrahams - A Meeting is a Meeting is a Meeting - Documentation of performance works - August 2010 - performances exhibited in: You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato - North by Northwestern Arts Festival

The essential quality of Abraham's works for the net is that of communication. She dramatizes the very notion of the interface between people at a distance from each other as well as in the same room, as in works like The Big Kiss (2008), and Huis Clos/No Exit - On Translation (2010).

In 9 Meetings, a collection of nine five minute long performance pieces which are documented for the net, Abrahams was in Montpelier, France and Antye Greje in Hailuto, Finland when they met online using a special webcam interface.

The nine themes explored were: Preferences, Patriotism, News, Wilderness, Love, News second try, Communism, Collaboration and Turn, turn, turn. These works essentially explore the creative collaborative relationship between these two women, who are of different ages and nationalities, communicating on the above themes. There were no rehearsals, which makes this a study of the communicative act itself, and as Abraham's writes "The relation doesn't exist, it comes into being." [1]

In Preferences the two women exchange their likes and dislikes, for example "I hate physical effort", or "I love privacy", "me too". In Patriotism they both appear with painted faces, playing a game of verbal ping pong to the background noise of a crowd cheering a sporting event.

Wilderness is an exploration of their environments; nature-scapes which they each film. The juxtaposition of the two streaming image sequences creates a dialogue simply through what is 'seen' by each.

In Love Greje sits on a hammock. They both eat fruit. Abrahams sings. They read each other extracts from texts on love. They both look at news items on the internet in News. Like Wilderness this juxtaposition of views and their voiced thoughts on what they discover, activates a dialogue between them, a kind of abstract common ground.

In Communism Greje talks about her childhood memories of Catholiscism, "I even wanted to be a missionary". Abrahams responds with memories of Socialism, "It was socialism", "I was ... raised by a Communist family", and that she grew up in what was known as "The valley of the people who don't know" [2], where there was not much media and therefore awareness of other issues was not available.

Collaboration shows a close-up of one eye of each as they exchange words and vowels in an abstract performance poem, as if they were having an internal dialogue with the self.

In Turnturnturn they each spin round to the sound of electronic music, which seems to suggest the chaos of connection.

In the changing ecology of media these nine meetings explore the nature of mediation as a structure, as a performance. The use of the split screen to enable the dialogue to unfold naturally, so that details are captured rather than edited out, is very effective.

Sarah Thompson 8.9.10

see the documentation at:

http://vimeo.com/meetings/videos

http://www.bram.org/9meetings

[1]http://www.bram.org/9meetings/index.html (last accessed 7.9.10)

[2]http://vimeo.com/meetings/videos, (last accessed 7.9.10), Communism