Journal

Penelope’s Window

Archived Event
Penelope’s Window

Past Event

Sam Trubridge
Performance
Penelope’s Window

A performance that played on and critiqued our notions of discovery, voyeurism, masculinity, and adventure unfolded. The audience watched as the artist rowed in circles around the harbour through a view-finder while listening to him reading texts of white male exploration.

Sam Trubridge
“performing on/in/at sea to unsettle relationships between knowing and unknowing or to create almost impossible situations “
Sam Trubridge

Hosted by PAWA

Penelope’s Window

About Event

2023
Performance

Penelope’s Window

“Penelope’s Window,” a performance by Sam Trubridge, took place in a unique setting involving both water and land locations. The artist performed on a boat in the water off Freyberg Beach, while the audience was stationed at two distinct viewing points: one at Freyberg Beach, equipped with binoculars, and another in Mount Street Cemetery, where telescopes were installed near the Adam Art Gallery.

Each viewing device had headphones attached, allowing audiences to observe the artist rowing his boat in tight circles across the bay and to listen to him reading aloud from a book placed in the stern. This immersive experience was designed to critique and unsettle geo-political politics and traditional performance presentation regimes, with a focus on colonial and post-colonial issues.

Central themes of the performance included male absence, futility, exploration, dominion, and the sublime. The artist, as a white male protagonist, used the waters of Te Whanganui-a-Tara as a stage for a satirical performance that delved into the narratives of myth and discovery. The performance reduced the figure to a small, laboring shape in the harbor, moving in circles, and emphasized embodied performance over long distances and durations. The experience was framed using view-finding devices and the backdrop of colonial 18th-century gravestones, adding layers of historical and cultural context to the performance.

 

Photography by Robyn Jordaan

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