It’s All Over But The Dreaming is a digital and interactive theatrical piece that the artist Tamara MacArthur realize by setting up a theatrical stage in her studio. The work, composed of different languages and media, can’t be circumscribed in a single genre and it leaves open the possibility of a reflection on artistic practices and their implementation in the present pandemic.

MacArthur’s practice is characterized by the construction of environmental installations often in papier mache to underline their impermanence and fragility. These sets are activated by the presence of the artist herself who animates them through performances of different duration. Inside It’s All Over But The Dreaming, the performance took place online, through the platform Zoom: once the digital curtain was opened on the participants’ screens, a small house appeared on a golden island, surrounded by suspended fabric and paper waves. In front of this house, the artist’s body holds another body in her arms: a puppet whose face has been replaced by a smartphone in direct connection with the visitor. The puppet is the co-star of the piece and a tribute to the doll commissioned by the painter Oskar Kokoschka who, after being abandoned, seeks a way to maintain a contact with his partner.

The pandemic has created profound changes in the interaction between the viewer and the artist, especially in the context of performance, It’s All Over But The Dreaming seeks for a new methodology. Like Oskar Kokoschka, the artist tries to bring back to life something that has been lost due to the restrictions. Narrations are the solution that the artist embrace to face the desire of closeness and the growing state of loneliness: during the online performance the artist’s voice is telling dreams, personal experiences and fantasies.

MacArthur proposes a new alternative, a way of rethinking the artist-public relationship. If on the one hand this action becomes an outlet, on the other it also represents a refuge in which to hide even for a short time. The dream soon vanishes: the viewer gets stuck in front of yet another screen, but this time they brings with them the stories of MacArthur as signs of care and protection, perhaps suggestions for a change.


Tamara MacArthur, It’s All Over But the Dreaming, Online performance for Edinburgh Art Festival, installation and live performance broadcast on Zoom, performance duration: 2hrs, 2020, photographs by Lizzie Urquhart


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