Into the Distance is a video work documenting one interaction from a durational participatory performance by Zierle & Carter titled Into the Distance, the performance challenges conventions of human behavior and intimate encounters between two strangers in the public arena of a busy shopping arcade.
The performance is an invitation to venture into spaces of the unheard and spoken, to explore different modes of communication. Simple in its aesthetic and structure, yet complex in its social and cultural commentary, this performance is anchored in an exploration of the intangible, invisible, the unseen, the personal and the collective.
Passer-by’s are simply invited to participate in a social experiment which explores intimacy in public space, contextualised by elaborating that in our everyday lives, intimacy is often expressed between two people familiar with each other, in an enclosed environment, in private, and often in close proximity. This ‘experiment’ aims to explore how an intimate interaction can occur between two strangers, outside in public, over a distance. Participants are explained that the interaction lasts as long as they want it to and there is no right or wrong way of doing it. The instruction is to simply hold the untied balloon that will be given to you for as long as you can hold the lady’s gaze. Participants can interpret the holding of the gaze as they wish.
Directly challenging societal codes of intimacy, the work opens dialogue around notions of exchange, of giving and receiving, and notions of connection through bridging/connecting people and spaces. Into the Distance opens space in which parameters can be shifted and the limitations of space re-envisioned through redirecting focus. This simple interaction in the shopping arcade seeks to bring the focus back to the experience of another human being through the body and beyond.