special visitorPilar

el beso de la lagartija, Ex-carcel, Valparasio, Chile. 17.04.04

This was a 6 hour site-specific public intervention, made in collaboration with 50 local artists for an audience of 150 people, after a 2 month residency at the former prision of Valparaiso, now a space for the arts.


During our research at the prison Valparaiso we met a boy who climbed the walls looking for lizards. He would catch the lizards in old iron tubes and place them in a box. He would then hang a golden paddlock between the lizards so that the glint from the padlock would catch the lizards' eyes. The lizards would then fight, their mouths would meet.

We decided to use this story as as a device for formulating the live art event. Many different groups of local artist that had a relation with the space were brought together along with an architecture of the lizard. At its tail the auidence met in a local Plaza and were invited to clean their ears in a personal ceremony of cleansing. A short walk up from the Plaza where the ear-cleaning began, people encountered an actor making the same musical note as the ships leaving harbour on an accordion whilst looking out to sea. Around the corner a poet reads as the church bells sing. In front of the prison a group of female dancers kick dust and swirl amongst the trees. A car alarm starts and a car minder with a mask starts arguing with a dog and telling stories of his life. Inside the entrance a gothic figure holding a fire torch bangs against the gates.

The first step inside the compound is to the special visitors area. A former prisoner in a trilby hat dances a tango with his female visitor. Through the wall into the main courtyard a human size lizard runs around held by a long cord attached to a character in a bowler hat on stilts.

As the auidence enters the inside of the prison they are offered bird whistles from a pond. There is a cacophony of shrills from the whistles, there is no light until fairy lights illuminate a figure on a balcony playing rock guitar whose rthymic chords induce a state of euphoria.

A white faced man unrolls a long long piece of blue fabric from high in the roof to the floor and along the hallway. A woman wearing a mask with 5 cigerrete ends sewn on removes her coat and stands naked at the opposite end to the now naked man. She drops water from her mouth to aid him in cleaning his teeth. They meet in the centre and kiss their lizards that sqweek with pleasure.

In the backyard a band strums and a clown paints his face. An acrobat hangs in a sheet of satin and a poet plays samples and speaks.

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