A Pavilion for U.S.

At Plymouth Art Weekender






A Pavilion For U.S. is a public artwork by William Luz that is a site and stage for exhibition and exchange. A temporary structure appeared at three different sites directly on Union Street. Modelled on a traditional dressing screen or room divider it references elements of the Street’s story and the separated social encounters we currently have. Over the course of the Art Weekender through a range of activities, resources and performances the structure offered a space to discuss ideas around the theme of unity; including oneness, togetherness and political forms of coupling, and where better to begin, than Union Street.




HARMONISE WITH ME

A text for Union Street by William Luz 

1.

Here we are, amassed, en masse, on the street. Union street.We start, standing, still, in the dark…  How long have we been here? It is somewhere between 1812 and 1820. We are three towns. Plymouth, Stonehouse and Devonport. Yes, we three.

“Minds, hearts and action”

This place is sourpool, some place between, in the midst, in the mist, betwixt.
We three, competitors, separated, dissenters, joined in resistance.

“Joined in commitment and purpose”

Ah Ha. An idea, a road, a union

“A type of coupling for connecting pipework”

You seem relaxed, that’s nice to see, I’m glad you’re feeling relaxed. We move closer still, almost making contact - then spiral around, our torsos facing, maintaining eye contact, our legs snaking concentrically inwards, rotating, twisting, entwining, but never touching.

“Touching hands. Hands. Hands”

We are in an empty space. Where are you? Don’t worry, wherever you are you can still hear me. We are where we are, not there, nor somewhere else, Let’s explore.

“No barriers”

Our upper bodies, stiff and mirroring each other, shadows, leaning to the left, about to topple but somehow staying upright.

Stretch your arms, close your eyes, extend your toes, breathe your breaths, be yourself, wherever you are. Let’s take a walk; be aware of your movement, walk with grace and poise, walk with confidence in your new surroundings, you are welcome.

“Family. Helpful. Friendly. Kind”

You walk, walk, walk and walk and walk. You are alone, very aware of being on your own.

2.

Suddenly and all of a sudden, we are somewhere new.in surroundings,
Familiar
Yet
Somewhat
Not… We've been here before, haven't we... It feels the same, yet different.
And so we are united, brought together, side by side by side. Gathered. Soon this street, gliding up and down, awash with gentry and the highest respectability.

“Past Glory, Times gone by”

These words send movements to your extremities, automatic. You are not so much hearing the words as being them, you are language – grammar, punctuating your promenade. Soon you realise others have got up to join you, they are following. A beautiful parade

“People flow around”

Our bodies are words, our movement language.

“Of potential light”


3.

Woaha! What was that?
Where are we now? Somewhere very different indeed, but at least we are all together, perhaps a little too together. It’s a bit tight in here.

“Wholeness, holistic”

We begin to loosen up, becoming more known for what we know of ourselves now.

“Cheeseburger, Pizza, Birds, Beach”

Whazzat! And again… somewhere else, back on our own, a huge wide open space, freedom, an expanse of place, a mobius strip spread out in every direction, a single sempiternal surface.

Let’s run, slow at first, speed increasing, speed decreasing, speed increasing, speed decreasing, left to right, right to left – swerving like a river, swimming on a wave – breathing steady, gait is light, legs lifted high, lilting, laughing.

“An adventurous place, Beep Beep!!”

We desire some convenience, a life made easy, but not easily.

“Solidarity towards a common cause. Debate and make change”

4.

First, next, next again and now. Where are we?

“Union on the corner”

We are calm, look around, we are collected. With arms outstretched politely trace the extent of your personal space. We are back on the street, not yet complete. There is space, a void. A site for our eyes. We join, touching elbows, knocking knees, 8 pointed, octopedal.

“Yogic”

We are not an island, nor alone, together, joining, linking, coupled, connected, an adventure in Togethering.

“Happily wedded”

We are not architects, that is the point, but we live here, that is the point, but what is the plan? We have proximity, but what else associates us?

“I’ve got a lot of Union in me”

There is music, distant and ambient and sounds.
 We move slowly. 
Move your arms as though they are part of your body, obviously they are part of your body, but really part of your body, totally connected, as one.

Pass this slow languorous motion along your torso, into your shoulders, chest, hips etc.
 Close your eyes.

“UNIONISE”

ONENESS : YESSNESS

Now imagine us all, not as people, but, still as people, becoming something, giving a frame form. What does this look like? Bodies becoming building blocks, boulders and beams. A series of strokes defining a structure, a system, consolidating, combining, a cohort, in Union.

“Strength in support”

Look ahead, at the head, on the other side. It looks similar doesn’t it. The body in front of you, it mimics your movements; Smiles your smiles, blinks your blinks, thinks your thinks.

U-n-I-on and on and on, into the sea. Here, a blank sheet, apart from a shape, eight sided, what would you put here to mark our unity. A shape, a form, a name?

“Strength together”

Separate, with, within, without, unseparate.

Moment on moment, maximising, optimising, belonging, being, bettering.

“Live for, inverted ‘m’ and ‘e’”

Raise your hand, the right one. Place it perpendicular to yourself, in front of your body, stroking the air, waving a stationary hello, a regal signal of ‘hi’. Raise your other palm, to a similar position of equal distance from body and face. A second hello, a supplementary salutation.

Your structures are synchronised, networked. Tilt your torso into the air. Keeping your head atop and upright, careful now, we don’t want any accidents.

“An ocean, a road, of locking hands”

Are you done? You appear to be getting on very well. Although I am afraid to say time is running out, you can continue this conference after we are done, but first we must disconnect. We rise to our feet. The interview is terminated, yet we have learned a lot.

“Songs show, Communities grow”

Decision making, making decisions, decisioning making. there is the chance that I have made, will make, won’t make, might make, could make, however much I think I will make the right decision. Do you agree?

“Miners, Fascists, Europeans, Collaborations, Bands, Gangs, School Classes, Partisans, Communists, Nations, Students, Streets, Corners, Rooms, Whetherspoons, Picket Lines…”

So where am I, what am I, who am I, now? Emerging from this, emerge and see, there was so much talk of new me, a new focus, a new we.

“A moving mix”

You see, we may be opposite, on the other side, but we are the same. We just need time to understand each other. You and they, they and thee, you, and me. Was there anyone else there at all?

We finish, as one.

“Illuminate(d)”


This text was performed on Saturday 26th September at Plymouth Art Weekender outsie the New Palace Theatre on Union Street.  The  sections in bold are taken from responses to the question ‘What do you think of when you think of Union?’ posed to the local community during summer 2020, thanks to those who contributed.



photos by Dom Moore 




ARCHIVE:


Dates and locations:



Friday 25th September 11am - 6pm 

‘Oneness’

Paved area outside British Heart Foundation Shop on Union Street

11am - 12pm : Coffee morning
Bring a coffee or cup of tea along and spend some time at the pavilion and chat to the artist about the ideas behind the work and your thoughts about Unity and Union Street.

12pm - 1pm : Book group
Join the artist to explore the Union Street Library, a collection of books loosely connected to different ideas of Union. Perhaps you might want to bring a book to add to the library, or pick a book from the library and discuss differing interpretations and ideas of Union.

2pm - 4pm : Arranging for Flowers
Is there someone who could do with some flowers? On the site of the Plymouth Botanical Gardens, William will be making postcard sized collages of flower arrangements for you to take and send on to someone (or keep).

5pm - 6pm : Listening Party (Oneness)
Between 5 and 6 each afternoon a specially made playlist with songs related to the theme of the day will be aired. If you can’t make it down you can listen to them here




 Saturday 26th September 11am - 6pm

‘Togetherness’

Paved area outside New Palace Theatre on Union Street

11am - 12pm : Coffee morning
Bring a coffee or cup of tea along and spend some time at the pavilion and chat to the artist about the ideas behind the work and your thoughts about Unity and Union Street.

1pm - 1.30pm : Performance*
Artist William Luz will perform a specially written text piece based on the history of Union Street and responses from call outs to the community over the last few months.

3.30pm - 4pm : Performance
Artist William Luz will perform a specially written text piece based on the history of Union Street and responses from call outs to the community over the last few months.

5pm - 6pm : Listening Party (Togetherness)
Between 5 and 6 each afternoon a specially made playlist with songs related to the theme of the day will be aired. If you can’t make it down you can listen to them here.



Sunday 27th September 11am - 6pm 

‘Certified’

Paved area outside Devonshire House on the Octagon, corner of Octagon Street and Union Street

All Day : Exhibition of collages
made by members of the Oasis Project Art Group and attendees of the Union Street Party

11am - 12pm : Coffee morning
Bring a coffee or cup of tea along and spend some time at the pavilion and chat to the artist about the ideas behind the work and your thoughts about Unity and Union Street.

1pm - 4pm : Do You Agree? Get Certified!
Unionise! Do you have rights that need standing up for? Join in a discussion about what unions are for today and what union would you be a part of?

5pm - 6pm : Listening Party (Certified)
Between 5 and 6 each afternoon a specially made playlist with songs related to the theme of the day will be aired. If you can’t make it down you can listen to them here






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For more information, email:
williamluz@plymouthartweekender.com


‘A Pavilion For U.S.’ is a project for Plymouth Art Weekender 2020
commissioned by Visual Arts Plymouth CIC and Nudge Community Builders, with support from Arts Council England and Creative Civic Change.