Here To Deliver — Glasgow, 2020
Here to Deliver was performed throughout October and November 2020. This durational performance took the form of a taxi service, where participants were taken on a virtual ride over the phone. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s associated conditions of long postponement and eternal present the artist embarked on a durational performance experiment. Over the course of two months the artist was on-call to perform mimicking the structure of gig economy labour. The performances took place over the phone from within the artist’s car, as she took the participants on a speculative journey through a cancelled festival, mirroring what they might have experienced had the world not shifted as it did. It was a conversation with many ghost ideas; the creative industries, festivals, in-person live events, plentiful gig-work, and being together. The more distant idea of art aligned to the socialist project was used in the form of a grandiose language within the script—repudiated ideas of art’s revolutionary agency were re-contexualised as an overarching contrast to a bleak artistic landscape.
In total 103 rides for virtual passengers all over the world, connecting live to as far away as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Canada, then phoning participants only streets away in Glasgow. The performance had a script blueprint, weaving together texts; quotes about social realism, writing on marxism and art, gig platform promotional copy and typical ‘taxi driver’ questions. This could be improvised around depending on the mood or willingness of the passenger to engage the “driver”.
The performance could also be followed through Instagram https://www.instagram.com/here_to_deliver/ where every ride is documented.
The 300+ hours of footage from recording each performance through dash-cam were then edited into a film Here to Deliver (2021), which can be viewed below.
A chapter on the performance ‘Here to Deliver: Conversations with the Ghosts of Gig Work’ was published in Performance in a Pandemic (Routledge, 2021)
The work was reviewed by Hussein Mitha, in Nothing Personal Magazine; ‘an expansive consideration of agency and class within Glasgow International through the lens of Shona Macnaughton’s performance Here To Deliver (2020)’.
In 2022 materials from the performance were collected together to form a publication. The book was launched at David Dale Gallery alongside a live performance including 5 of the participants from 2020. Together with the artist they performed a script, edited from their original transcripts. To purchase a copy of the book please email email@example.com, send your address and make a contribution here http://tpjr.us/shonamc of at least £4 (to cover postage costs).
What is is that you do yourself then?
What is it that you do yourself? The big question. Now remember that this is April, if April wasn’t April, its April and nothings happened. So we don’t have room here for anything other than a piece of imagining. Attempt to say in one breath getting faster. And imagining means abstracting the fundamental idea from a given reality, and embodying it in an image; this gives us realism. But if the meaning that is abstracted is amplified by the desired and the possible – if it is supplemented by the logic of hypothesis-all this rounding off of the image-then we can get closer to the romanticism which underlies the myth, which is most beneficial in creating a revolutionary attitude, an attitude that in practice refashions the world.
Big intake of breath What is it that you do yourself then?
Insert improvised response
Ah right right so I’ve read about this on yeah so you’re like an entrepreneur of the theatres, the music halls, the brothels? Yeah so can buy the temporary disposal of the labour power over the actors, musicians, sex workers. And then you can buy it back cos it perishes at the moment of its performance, its very clever that one, yeah,.. Yeah, yeah.