As Dumb Type’s first new work in 18 years since Voyage (premiered in 2002), the performance 2020 was scheduled to be staged at ROHM Theatre Kyoto in March 2020 as part of “KYOTO STEAM – International Arts x Science Festival 2020” but had to be cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. In October 2020, the screening of the filmed and edited performance took place at the same theater.
In the dark, a 3kw Fresnel lens (Lighting equipment) falls on the stage like a pendulum as soon as it lights up. A performer and a square hole in the center of the stage emerge. While the pendulum lighting is swinging, questions are asked – What is Geography? What is the Earth? Where does the Sunset?・・・(The questions cited from the American textbook in 1856 FIRST LESSONS IN GEOGRAPHY by James Monteith are read out loud by a synthesized voice.) Before long, the lighting, which has come to a standstill in the center of the hole, is pulled up and draws a circular arc, turning into a topographic map formed by shaving the ice sheet 20 thousand years ago. The center is hidden in darkness, the performer starts moving on its edge, eventually turning into trail of a light from his own flashlight.
5 people, who seem to be dressed in black, appear. As they sit side by side, a black square screen unrolls covering their faces. It seems to be a meeting of people in power, with their legs crossed, fingers pointed at each other, and arms folded. Multiple images of security cameras are projected on the screen, turning into a mosaic as the number of cameras increases, and the pattern also looks like the shape of people who are trying to control the system called nation created by humans.
As the people in black take their suits off, they transform into lightly and colorfully dressed people. A DJ booth, towed by a rope, appears from the right side. The DJ places a record and plays as directed by a Conductor. Moon River, I Had It Made…, even the cry of a baby. Performers are dancing around joyfully as if they were unleashed from the black suits, but their movements are restricted by commands from the Conductor-STOP!, CHANGE!, and GO! The surface of record administered by the Conductor, becomes unplayable as it is gradually covered with masking tape, and finally turns into noise.
After the chaos of noise, people leave, and the performer who remains alone screams after running around the stage. “If there was a bomb inside me, I want to eat it again, digest it, and flush it down a toilet!” “If there was a rabbit inside me, a gap would develop rapidly, taking away the fun, so I want to go back for a bit and run with a turtle!”
During a light prelude, two performers appear, and dance left and right away from each other. The shadows of the two performers are reflected on a screen behind, where their silhouettes overlap, push away, and join hands. The two performers dance, as L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole plays. Words that begin with L, O, V, and E are projected on three screens behind them.
A person dressed in a swimsuit is talking to someone on a tin can telephone without a string. When the other party comes up from the hole in the center of the stage, they line up and lie down facing the ceiling. Their faces are alternately projected on the screen behind, as they start a conversation with a blink. Words of the conversation are projected on the screen, and gradually other words related to the meaning of their words are induced, as finally countless words fill up the space. Eventually, these words get masked and become unreadable.
In sync with the sound composed of sine waves, glitches, and white noise, countless English words float on the screen, virtualizing the invisible universe of words that fills this world. A performer in white body tights lies beneath the screen, and a line of a light is scanning the body. As the sound surges, the movement accelerates and the heat increases. The image also quickly transitions to the movement of a city and a marine chart. In the silence that arrives shortly after, facing the question Where does the sun set?, that was asked 160 years ago at the start, she finds herself rotating backwards, and falls backwards into the hole.