Performance, (by actor Gretchen Egolf), with 5.1 channel audio,
Rising, a live performance with surround sound, evokes a flooded future, in which marathon runners attempt to adapt both physically and psychologically to their increasingly aquatic environment of rising water levels brought about through climate change. A city’s marathon run has become, for Chodzko, a ritualistic preparation for a city’s evacuation prior to its final submergence under floodwaters, an annual exercise in escape; A city’s method of preparing for the exodus of its people.
In this hypnotic work of science fiction Chodzko fuses together the interior psychological environment of the runner’s mind and the external environmental collapse of favourable climatic conditions necessary to sustain human life. These two processes are echoed in Rising’s correlation between slipping between different levels of unconsciousness and rising levels of flood water. Reality also becomes ambiguously suspended between states in the performance of Rising with the possibility of its acoustic environment being located soley in the imagination of the hypnotised sitter, or is being played by the analyst to trigger perception, or perhaps is the analyst itself.
Rising, together with its parallel video work Deep Above (2015), (also commissioned by Invisible Dust) both focus on Chodzko’s interests in human behaviour, imagination, community and collective solutions to external or internal threats. He is particularly interested in our inclination towards disavowal, our mind’s incapacity to act in a deeply embodied and felt way to avoid environmental catastrophe and suggests that a complete rewiring of the way we think might be necessary for our survival and that it could be art’s strengths and weaknesses that (inadvertently) facilitates this shift in consciousness.
(The state of semi-consciousness is explored in a number of Chodzko’s works, including Sleepers, Sleepers. Hole and Ghost).
Excerpt from script for Rising:
where am I right now???
I can’t tell….
Oh! I’m on the top of a roof! The pale green roof of the Royal Infirmary. Ahead of me I can see the little islands made by the tops of the Civic Centre and the floating pontoon track stretching between them and Shieldfield House heading …well …south for a bit over where the river used to be… then east out to the end, to where the sea used to be.
Now the sea is here.
This was the route of the final run. It only started a day or so ago but already the recently raised pontoon is partly submerged again. The water has been rising so fast!
The run went through so many different phases…ritual and rehearsal, serious, then kind of flamboyant, ecstatic, sort of carnivalesque for a few years.
Then it calmed back down again when it became monthly. Then recently – well for the last two years – it’s been daily.
As the water rose and parts of the run became submerged the run had longer stretches of swimming…I mean the whole of Felling to Monkton was waded, then swam…
Rising was originally presented as part of the Great North Run Culture programme, in performance form at the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle and as a broadcast on Basic FM. The broadcast coincided with the end of the Great North Run with the intention that it’s primary audience would be fatigued runners on their way home, after the race. Subsequent performances have been presented at Manchester University as part of Manchester Science Festival (2013),The National Maritime Museum (2015), Beppu Triennial, Japan, (2015), Hull as part of the Sounding the Sea Symposium (2017)