Songs of Rapture and Torture
A suite of four performances, four-years in the making, presented over four sessions.
June 04, 2011
Songs of rapture? Yay! Songs of torture? Okay. Sarah Jane Norman's quartet of performances has steadily evolved since 2007 when #1 (Surabaya Johnny) was presented at Performance Space. It is comprised of three durational works and one performance staged for video projection. It is a four-year survey of work by Norman, who has a reputation as one of Sydney's most provocative and magnetic performance artists.
Each performance takes the repetition of a popular love song as its basis. Norman aims to challenge both the prevalent cultural narratives of our rom-com society and the pitiful limits of pop songs by manipulating her self-presentation and performative vocabulary. For an unfixed duration of time over four sessions, she will resign herself to a private world of loss and resignation, with no reprieve from the purgatorial repetition of these songs. Norman will sing until her voice breaks, or her heart breaks; whichever comes first.
Love as an ordeal? Yes. Romance as endurance? Indeed. Bear close witness to this internalised melodrama and you may find yourself reflecting, as if for the first time, on that flat, high-flown word 'fortitude.'