Jet Lag

Catalogue description of the performance "Jet Lag" by Diller Scofidio, from "The Art of the Accident," 1998

Jet Lag is a performance about characters severed from the conventions of time and space through telecommunications and high-speed travel. In two stories, it features the media fiction of a sailing trip around the globe, and the static, domestic spaces of intercontinental air travel. Jet Lag combines stage action with live and recorded video in the presentation of two intersecting narratives.

1. In his famous interview, The Third Window, Paul Virilio tells the story of Sarah Krachnov, the American grandmother, who in a period of six months flew across the Atlantic one hundred and sixty-seven times with her young grandson in an attempt to elude the pursuit of the child's father and psychiatrist. They traveled New York - Amsterdam, Amsterdam - New York, never leaving the plane or airport lounge except for the brief stop at the airport hotel. Krachnov finally died of jet lag. In the words of Virilio, this contemporary 'heroine' lived in 'deferred time'.

2. In 1969 a British eccentric named Donald Crowhurst joined the round-the-world solo yacht race sponsored by the Sunday Times of London. Ill-prepared but driven by the guaranteed publicity of the event, Crowhurst loaded up the film equipment provided to him by the BBC to record his journey and set sail. Within several weeks, Crowhurst encountered heavy seas in the South Atlantic. He drifted in circles on the open sea for the remainder of the race. Haunted by the specter of failure, Crowhurst broadcast false radio positions, produced a counterfeit log and documented a successful voyage on film. As he re-joined the race in the last leg, the fear of social humiliation finally led the troubled sailor to take his own life by drowning. Crowhurst ultimately disappeared into his deferred space.

Both true stories feature characters in transit whose trajectories seek out unconventional horizons. Krachnov is subjected to the ubiquitous, non-stop space of travel, while she produces a virtual home for her grandson in a succession of airport hotel rooms. She has accommodated herself in an endless loop, the airplane and hotel interiors acting as a  horizon continuously folding in on itself. Crowhurst simulates travel while floating in perpetual limbo. A spiral turned inwards, his horizon turns into a medialized black hole into which, in the end, he vanishes. In an interesting play of gender stereotypes, the female reproduces a static, domestic space - in constant motion, while the male fictionalizes motion - frozen in space, confined by the trappings of masculinity and the bravado of movemen

Concept and idea: Diller Scofidio.
Director: Marianne Weems (former dramaturgy of the Wooster Group).
Text: Jessica Chalmers.
Video designer: Christopher Kondek.
Lighting design: Jennifer Tipton.
Sound: Dan Dobson.
Computer animation: James Gibs.
Play: Jeff Webster, Tim Cummings, Dominique Dibbell, Kevin Hurley, Heaven Phillips, Dale Soules.
Production: Renate Petroni and The Builders Association.

© 1998 V2_
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