Passing Place



or We could be tourists, just for one day


The first working session was held at the Orkney Islands in august 2008. Julia Lee Barclay and Zoe Christiansen spent 2 weeks writing the first set of texts for Passing Place.


We know everything we need to know about the human capacity for violence.  We are in search of the human capacity for peace, in ourselves, in our travels and in our work.  We realize how difficult this is to discover both within ourselves and outside as it relates to issues of private ownership and identity.  Therefore, we are beginning with ourselves, two directors (one a scenographer and one a writer), collaborating as equals, surrendering our power to one another in an attempt to find a new way of working to create a vision that is neither one nor the other, a multiple that neither silences the differences in each other’s voice nor clings to private creative ownership.  We are going to places, first Orkney, then Lofoten, islands which perch on the outside edges of global capitalism, yet have rich intersecting histories and also very contemporary relationships with these forces as they relate to oil, the decline of fishing, tourism, the search for sustainable energy, and a new resurgence of interest in living in such places as people confront their desire for a sense of belonging and community.  We have created our first text from our visit to Orkney where we focused on responding to what we saw rather than preconceived ideas.  The text includes writing by both of us, in our unique styles, and is grounded by conversations we had each day, which were recorded and transcribed.  The focus of the work is responsiveness and listening rather than production, both as a strategy for creation and as a strategy for peace.  We do not avoid the darkness and conflicts within ourselves or the places we visit (and the conflict of being visitors to beautiful places, which can place us in the uncomfortable role of tourists), so it is not about a patina of optimistic slogans but an attempt to respond non-violently to these conflicts and this darkness.  We will add to the text with each place we visit, entering into a similar relationship of responsiveness. 

We envision now creating over time a multi-layered durational performance wherein we will offer the audience space to join us in such activities as having tea, making lunch, surrender walks and meditation, whilst we embody these texts, verbal, aural and visual that we have created together.  There will be time for informal conversations with the audience during the performance, so we will be shifting the relationship from object and subject to something more lateral and interactive, another strategy for peace.


Julia Lee Barclay & Zoe Christiansen