© WLDN 2020



During this time of isolation and in this world-wide crisis, the year-long Vigil performance continues in Dordrecht, Holland and Graz, Austria.

In this performance for 732 vigils, each participant holds watch over their city for an hour at sunrise and sunset, over 366 days. Each Vigil stands alone, but together they form a human chain, a manifestation of community, humanity and resilience. This has become even more significant today, in these troubling times, as we in turn watch over and protect each other, our cities and our planet. I thank each and every one of the Vigils and Companions for their committment to the performance. Each Vigil stands for us all. Over the past 8 years, The Vigil has been running continuously in France, Germany, Netherlands and Austria in Belfort, Laval, Rennes, Haguenau, Freiburg, Évreux, Dordrecht and Graz. We have great pleasure in announcing the upcoming Munich Vigil for the Gasteig München Theater, due to start over this current year in 2020. — JL

In September 2011, Joanne Leighton launched her large scale monumental work, The Vigil, a work for 730 inhabitants and performed over 365 consecutive days. Joanne Leighton asks this question : is it the Vigil watching the performance of the city or is the person in the city watching the performance of the Vigil ? A Vigil, or Watcher, is a person who holds a presence, standing – a figure which has become significant today - someone who takes responsibility for watching over their city. 730 people participate to contribute to a collective Vigil that takes place across an entire year. The Vigil is a form of long, silent and peaceful resistance. Everyone involved chooses their own date and time, participating for their own reasons.

The Watchers partake in a practical workshop prior to the performance, where the protocol of the performance is transmitted. After the hour-long Vigil, texts and photos are collected from the Watchers. These traces accumulate throughout the year, bringing together contemporary experiences and images about the city seen through the perspective of the Watcher. The Vigil thus becomes a vector for making stories: building an active memory, an archive of the period, made and performed by the citizens themselves. The project has two sides : the personal stories of the Watchers and the community that they create. Over time, these two facets build a meta theme and central narrative to this unique performance.