I walked up to the WORKS this evening and settled onto a cold patch of sidewalk behind Washington High School to wait for newly BFA’ed PNCA graduates Nicole Dill and Tyler Wallace to drive up.
Today, the two woman drove around Portland, performing Between Us. They recorded the car trip with a live-broadcast webcam at betweenuslive.com. At 9:01 the little compact car pulled into the grass lot behind the WORKS building.
Their car trip, and the conversation inside, was now broadcast movie-screen size on the side of a large truck behind them.
The TBA description of Between Us tells us that these two young artists are interested in "interrogating the ways in which staying connected impacts the fluid dichotomies between private and public spaces, confidentiality and disclosure, voyeurism and exhibitionism."
I mean, sure. I get that.
Wallace and Dill have captured those dichotomies by playing with scale: the small-screen grainy voyeurism of the webcam, the large-screen glamour of the projection, and the warmth of two figures illuminated in the glow of a front cab light.
But the best parts of this project, I thought, were found outside that conceptual explanation. It was the late-night-slumber-party, last-day-of-camp feeling brought on by the setting and the dialogue.
The audience drifted out across the lawn, a bit bundled against the newly chilly fall night and hushed in the dark, as if we’d all stayed up late to see a movie at the drive-in.
The dialogue between Dill and Wallace I found refreshingly guileless: kitchen-sink stories about middle school embarrassments, first kisses, grandparents, best friends … the types of stories, those partial secrets from our pasts, that seems to only get told in a surplus of time: on road trips, at slumber parties, around campfires.
We tell them to new friends and old, to lovers and strangers. There was something meditative and gentle in listening to Dill and Wallace tell theirs to us—not at all alone in the dark.