ICARUS 4: Introductory Address

by Frank Camilleri. ICARUS 4, 19-22 June 2003.

ICARUS 4 is not a performance. It is not a work-in-progress. It is not a demonstration. ICARUS 4 embodies elements that may remind you of ‘performance’, or ‘work-in-progress’, or ‘demonstration’, but in itself ICARUS 4 is neither of these.

ICARUS 4 may be said to be an ongoing search for ‘parameters of the performative’ – a search which we would like to share with you. Rather than ‘applying’ reading strategies, you are being invited to ‘share’ this journey towards these performative parameters.

There will be elements in ICARUS 4 which you may probably not recognise, but I am certain that you will recognise the quality and the consistency of the work on rhythm, textures, dynamics, and modes of scenic behaviour. Let these be your guides.

ICARUS 4 may be described as a ‘performative presentation’ of the first phase of the research conducted by the founding members of the Icarus Project.

In this initial phase of the Icarus Project, the informing principle has been not so much the noun ‘performance’ as the verb ‘performing’. As a practising performer, my role of ‘leader’ in this phase has been to facilitate, from within, the performer’s work upon him/herself – I see my role as having been closer to ‘a performer’s inner voice’ than to that ‘a director of a performance’. The urge to structure ICARUS 4 in terms of ‘performance’ has been resisted. We did not work directly on form but on the way that form is inhabited: hence on ‘performing’ rather than on ‘performance’ per se.

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Looking back I realise that the question that we have been trying to answer is: what happens when you focus on ‘performing’ rather than on ‘performance’, when you focus on the roots of performing rather than on the leaves of performance?

If there are elements in ICARUS 4 which remind you of ‘performance’, then these should be viewed as an ‘effect’ rather than as the ‘aim’ of the procedure followed. It is in this sense that ‘form’ is seen to emerge from the parameters sought and followed. If you take care of the roots of performing, the ‘leaves and flowers of performance’ are bound to emerge. ICARUS 4 is the fruit of this endeavour. The pruning/styling of leaves/branches will occupy the next phases of the project.

The process that led to ICARUS 4 was initiated two years ago in February 2001. It is expected that the Icarus project should take, in all, 4/5 years. A number of ‘performative presentations’ will be held in the interim. ICARUS 4 is the first ‘performative presentation’ in the Icarus Project.