Heavy Duty

Sara Rodrigues

25 January 2019

5-10pm (one day only event)

The Change Room

Humans have always been risk-averse, which has helped the survival and continuation of our species until this present day. In this biological perspective, immediate concerns, like not being eaten by a lion, have always overshadowed eventual ones. Today, in an age where technological development has provided such sophisticated tools to measure the past and predict the future, we are left with a heavy duty on our hands, the question of whether we are capable of acting in the face of what is yet to come. Physical changes are already globally being felt by many, with events like coastal flooding, forest fires and droughts producing dramatic negative impacts on safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Yet we still question, is it going to affect me? Do I feel vulnerable? The reality is that mostly, we don’t, and this inevitably shapes our behaviour. The optimist bias tells us that the risk is distant, a distance not only measured through time, but through geography and culture. Unfortunately, it turns out that the ‘Four Cheaps’, described by Jason Moore as food, raw materials, energy and labour-power, are not indeed ‘free gifts of nature’ nor cheap at all. As capitalism reaches new limits in frontiers of appropriation and accumulation, we face an epochal moment, realising how much we are all implicated in this process of world-making; in direct reciprocal relation to all processes that define and will undoubtedly change our lives if we remain inert.

Booklet handout (*interview with artist Sara Rodrigues enclosed)

About the artist

Sara Rodrigues is an interdisciplinary artist working in audiovisual composition, performance and research. Working with malleable and open structures, her pieces often attempt to understand complex issues by dissecting them into fragments, conducting action prompting questions and interviews with indeterminate outcomes. Sara conceives her work as a place for experimentation and practice-led discovery, with an evergrowing sociopolitical interest. 


Heavy Duty:

Sound installation and participatory performance
12 min. duration

Participants: maximum 4 people at a time, lying on 4 wooden boards, wearing an overall for protection purposes. 

coal, ice, water, sand, soil, bricks, human sized wooden boards, cone speakers playing various sound clips and 6 soundscapes.

The 6 main substances were laid on top of each participant’s body throughout the piece, depending on whether or not they raised their hands regarding certain statements, being these:
You struggle in the heat (coal)
You can’t bare the cold (ice)
You would like to live next to the seaside (water)
You think surviving in a desert is possible (sand)
You have grown your own food before (soil)
You think your house can protect you (bricks)

In between each question, sound clips were played, which have been gathered from: 
various news reports on recent weather conditions, interviews with scientists about future prospects, tutorials on how to cope with various climate changes, as well as doctors demonstrating the effects it can have on us and finally, how to prepare for a possible disaster. 

In the end, the participants are able to witness their own choices as well as those of the others in relation to the questions, by examining the materials left behind. 'Heavy Duty' does not present solutions but invites each of the participants to glimpse these possible outcomes, considering them in relation to their choices and beyond these. 

text © Sara Rodrigues, 2019

Using Format