Joanne Leighton introduces The Vigil for 730 participants. Each morning and evening at sunrise and sunset over 365 days, a participant will keep watch over a town or region for one hour. To be present in a specific site, to be an actor or observer, to participate in an action both collective and singular, and to question the notion of space and how we understand it through the interaction between one’s own body and its surroundings - these are the central ideas of this performance. Each participant will have their own unique experience of one of the fundamentals of the practice of choreography: the nature of presence. This hour away from daily life is an opportunity to stand back from the world for an instant. At the same time, the participants will experience being part of a vast, human adventure, and on a larger scale, that of a population, a region, or a town.
WLDN enters into a partnership with a theatre, who become the Organisers, who mount and run Joanne Leighton’s artistic performance, The Vigil. In order to enhance understanding and to ensure the smooth running of The Vigil, WLDN embarks on a vast transmission process with the Organisers.
Choreographer : Joanne Leighton
Designers : Tovo&Jamil
Administration : Julie Weitzner
/ How does it work?
For 365 days, twice a day, a Vigil keeps watch over the city in the Shelter on a high, culminate point in the city. Each Vigil participates only once. In the morning the Vigil starts from sunrise, in the evening it is from an hour before sunset. As an Vigil, you are alone in the Shelter, and you hold a presence over the city, standing, without telephone or camera. The Vigil chooses a date and time and registers for participation on the Vigil website dedicated to the project. The performance is open to everyone of adult age, according to the order of registration and depending on availability. The Vigil is silent and whenever possible, standing.
The Vigil performance runs for one year, each Vigil lasts exactly one hour. It isn't necessary to be a local resident. The performance involves 2 participants per day which gives, depending on the calendar year, a total of 730 Vigils.
/ The Shelter
Designed by Tovo&Jamil, The Shelter is the scenography in which the Vigil takes place. A unique Shelter is designed for each Vigil site, on a high point of a town. The Vigil must be able to see and to be seen, and the Shelter is illuminated (interior and exterior) during the hour of each Vigil.
/ Vigil Training
In preparation for the Vigil, each Vigil participates in a short collective Vigil Training session. Every two weeks throughout the project, workshops are organised for several participants at a time. This enables transmission of the idea of holding a presence, and the central ideas to The Vigil, that of performance and choreography. Specific times and meeting points of each person’s Vigil are also recapitulated in this time.
/ The Companion
Each Vigil is accompanied by a Companion, a volonteer who watches over the Vigil and makes sure everything goes smoothly. They take a bi-portrait: a photo of the landscape during the Vigil, and a portrait photo after the Vigil, in front of the Shelter. Past Vigils can become Companions to continue their involvement in the performance.
/ Traces : following The Vigil
Documenting the experience is an important part of this project. The Companion takes a portrait photograph of the Vigil and a landscape photograph overlooking the city. At the end of each Vigil, the Vigil write their impressions in The Vigil Journal about his or her experience. These texts and photos are regularly posted on the Vigil website, building a portrait of the Vigil and the city, so that everyone can follow the development of the performance.
/ Vigil Events
These events take different forms and are created and conducted by Joanne Leighton with her dancers, in relation with the Organisers. An Opening event is organised on the first Vigil to celebrate the beginning of the project.
Every three months, the Organiser hosts a Sharing Evening with Joanne Leighton and her dancers. This convivial event is for the Vigils and Companions who have already participated up to that point, to exchange each other's experiences, and to meet Joanne Leighton. Other artists, curators, philosophers, sociologists who have participated in the performance, come together to reflect on the presence of the Vigil in the city.
At the end of the project, a Closing Ceremony brings together all 730 Vigils and their Companions, in a celebratory event created by Joanne Leighton. This will be an opportunity for all participants to reflect on and celebrate the year of The Vigil.
/ The Vigil Book
At the end of the year-long Vigil, to commemorate the performance, a Vigil Book is edited and published, and then presented to each participant as a gesture of thanks for their participation.