Date: July 14th, 2003


Location: pedestrian tunnel beneath the Granville St. bridge; Vancouver, BC


Duration: 8 hours


Text:  Mechanism of Utopia by E.M. Cioran.


Pages:  p.80 – 92 in the collection History and Utopia


Lines: 388







   But let me take you back to the tunnel for the conclusion, or completion. I have about an hour and a half left before I reach the end of the tunnel and I am beginning to feel a little off. People have been talking to me and I am having trouble responding coherently. At this time a woman missing most of her teeth approaches me and points back to a man unloading a guitar in the centre of the tunnel and asks me if it is alright if her partner plays. I tell her that it is not my tunnel and he can do whatever he wants but I appreciated her asking. She tells me he plays country and western. And he does. Six songs, maybe five and a half… over and over. there’s a hole in the bucket, the bucket, the bucket. His voice was not good at finding the right notes, a bit of a blind voice you might say. I suppose that since the deluge didn’t stop me one final hurdle had to be thrown my way. But, I managed to crawl over this hurdle and reached the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately I was only able to do thirteen of the eighteen pages of the essay but, as the blind voice in the tunnel was reminding me you’ve gotta know when to fold ‘em.



   I went back two days later and it has not yet been hosed down. And there was a little surprise for me. Using the scraps of chalk I would discard some people had written their e-mail addresses either asking for a copy of the text or offering me digital pictures of the performance. One person even kindly scrawled this is crap. Unfortunately, they wrote it in chalk, which means that parts of it are illegible. But that is also part of its beauty, here and then not.


   Two days later I read The Burrow by Kafka, for support. In it he describes a trench he wishes to construct, to dig with his own claws


if it reaches its goal it will probably be very long,

if it fails to reach its goal it will be endless.


I think this sentence, this thought, marks the true end of the performance, of Utopia.


 - M. S.

all photographs by MS