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Aquatic Needs — Cooper Gallery, Dundee, 2019

A performance commissioned for 12-Hour Non-State Parade, Cooper Gallery, DJCAD, Dundee, 2019. Images (below) by Sally Jubb @sallyjubbphotography. A video of the performance is available here. A publication is forthcoming including an interview for Platform Journal of Theatre and Performance Royal Holloway University of London.

Angeliki Roussou wrote a review of the Cooper Gallery’s symposium which included these words about Aquatic Needs:

An overall highlight in upholding (art-)institutional care was Shona Macnaughton’s new performance Aquatic Needs. Many, including myself, realised only retrospectively that they were watching a performance as Macnaughton addressed the keynote panel with ‘I can’t think of a question. […] My chest is pounding. I want to speak but there’s a gap between how intelligent I think I am and how intelligent I sound. Can you help me? Can you look after me?’ The focus then shifted to the audience as Macnaughton spoke with assertiveness through a megaphone, instructing willing attendants out of the room and, later, outside. As Macnaughton announced, ‘Talent and genius are uniformly distributed. Opportunity is not. This means that you will have trouble controlling yourselves’, the performance culminated with the artist wetting herself, an act visible to us all and illuminated by a handheld torchlight. A discernible critical layer becomes apparent as the performance circled back to its initial frailty. ⠀

It’s time to take on the vested interests holding you back. Open the door. I will unlock the potential – You WILL leak during forceful activities. I will unleash the potential – you WILL also leak when you do less strenuous activities, like standing up or bending over.

Move through the door backwards legs apart We know where we want to go – and we know why we are stuck. Your body will change position when it’s ready.

Shine torch down ramp. For most the decision to go is not easy.  This is due to insufficient strength. Demonstrate – bend over hand rail with body and legs. Pull up and in and squeeeeeze. If there are no problems, it will not affect your future chances.

Shine torch up and down the ramp.  The future is ours to make, Lets move forward, create a brighter future. , lets move on,  Time to choose our own future, lets get this done. before somebody else does.

Move over to wall chanting

Lift us out, unite and level up, prolapse! …Lift us out, unite and level up, prolapse! …Lift us out, unite and level up, prolapse!