Exhuming Exhuming Johnny
A Delegated Reunion
NEXUS#1 – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – online
Friday 4 December 2020
Time: Glasgow 13:00 | Chicago 07:00 | Los Angeles 05:00 | Melbourne 24:00 (midnight)
In 2019, Robert Walton was commissioned by The City of Chicago and the Goat Island Archive to respond to Goat Island’s 1991 work ‘Can’t Take Johnny To The Funeral’. Robert worked with performers from Australia, UK and USA to explore the grainy footage of the original production and source materials in the Goat Island Archive to create a new performance called Exhuming Johnny for The Chicago Cultural Center. With the help of percussionist Tom Benko and live video specialist Mark Cominskey, a new performance was discovered by recreating parts of the original and returning to its themes of ‘bliss and terror in the modern world’ from a perspective almost 30 years later.
This event, Exhuming Exhuming Johnny, is a delegated reunion of the collaborators of Exhuming Johnny embodied through surrogates in Glasgow. It is a response to a response to a response. In 1991 Goat Island created ‘Can’t Take Johnny To The Funeral’. In 2019 the performers of Exhuming Johnny rearticulated the 1991 performance in their own bodies. In 2020 the performers of Exhuming Exhuming Johnny revivify the spirit of collaboration in the guise of an artist talk and reunion, carrying traces of the bodies of the past into the present and continuing a shared commitment to discovering the performance by making it.
From around the world, each Exhuming Johnny collaborator provided text in response to the same directives but contributed in isolation, not knowing how the others responded. These responses are now in the hands and mouths and bodies of the Exhuming Exhuming Johnny collaborators in Glasgow. The directives included the requirement for each section to be a certain number of seconds long – however, not everyone was able to stick to the rules.
Text, music and video
Robert Walton, Catie Rutledge, Callum Grant, Chris Mosier, Jean Grant, Sebastian Robinson, Tom Benko
Althea Young, Cade Tough, Hope Kennedy, Jennifer Kelly, Julienne Restall, Maria Monteiro