Pat Hoffie been there and back again

Recently, Pat Hoffie and I were discussing her installation event Fugue for Salvaging Drowned Memories staged at the 2009-10 Woodford Folk Festival (Woodfordia, Jinibara Nation). The conversation meandered around issues of work, performativity, participation and documentation when she interrupted a thought to declare, quite conclusively, "You have to have been there.“ This grammatically unwieldy but common colloquial phrase perfectly articulates a host of concerns over live performance, site-specific works, collaboration, participation, interactivity and performative immediacy. Although her work is overtly concerned with issues of labour, the subtext that leaks out from each of her performative installations is the tension between “having been there“ and “having been elsewhere“.

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