Nagano – The Short Tour, 2006

Nippon Performance Art Festival (NIPAF), Nagano, Japan.

In front of the train station at Nagano in the west of Japan is a large public square that is entirely filled with a complicated queue of a hundred or more taxis. The head of the queue is at the top right-hand corner of the square and arrivals are deposited at the bottom-left.

An audience assembled for my performance and I positioned them at the ‘taxi-arrivals’ point in the bottom-left corner of the square. I then ran round to the head of the taxi queue, jumped in the car and presented the driver with instructions to drive around the square and deposit me at the ‘arrivals’ point where the audience waited.

The driver needed some persuading to do this – apart from the pointlessness of the exercise it would mean that, for a minimum fare, he’d then have to rejoin the back of the enormous queue of taxis. A reasonable ‘extra’ fee was agreed and after just two minutes or so I arrived in front of the audience to exit the cab, pose for photos and take a bow.

The experience of travelling and visiting new places to devise and present not-yet-conceived performances is an exhilaratingly immediate form of art-making that can be informed precisely by the paucity rather than the thoroughness of one’s encounter with a city or place.