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Imagined Performance written by Nina Isabelle and read live on Instagram by IV Castellanos @iv_castellanos

Para\\el Performance Space

February 12, 2021




You will be guided through a sequence of events that have been systematically untethered from any and all singular, multiple, or quantifiable physical locations. Any and all astral, psychic, temporal, and somatic pins have been removed from the fabric of time. All known and unknown extradimensions will be accessible to you. Some of the events may feel familiar to you. You might recognize the radiator in this space. You might be familiar with the sound of my voice or the way this space expands and contracts at will. Sometimes this space is as large as a destroyed production room of an old abandoned textile factory with remains of broken equipment


The person sat down. 


The seated person had an idea and hoped to untangle it by sitting  down. They started to speak out loud- "I have an idea and I want to sit down." They didn't say the next part out loud but only thought it to themself inside their own quiet mind - "I'm not sure where to start."


The next part involves the person discussing with themselves what they believe they know about three things; beginnings, middles, and ends.  A lot of time goes by. The person sits and thinks.


Hello. Welcome to Imagined Performance. My name is IV Castellanos and today I will be reading a performance imagined by Nina Isabelle.


This performance starts right now: at 8:17 pm on February 12, 2021 and will end precisely at 8:32 pm. 


All participants are asked to please defocus their  perception using whatever breathing or other techniques they find useful. Be with your laptops but not of them. Hold your phones loosely or not at all. Connect through disconnecting. Believe that you know what this means. 


I will continue speaking during your process. Please know that it is not necessary for you to understand what I am saying. I am moving my mouth. I am vibrating my vocal cords in a certain way that I have found useful. There are many sounds happening where I am. I can hear traffic. A radiator is hissing. Sometimes people's boots are stomping up and down staircases. The walls here are thin. The sound of passersby breathing and conversing and slogging through cold, ice, and snow. 


While I continue to speak, please list the sounds you notice in your environment. Speak these sounds out loud to yourself where you are now. In this way, we can be together through our differences. You may whisper, yell, or use any variety of tone or volume you choose. As a disclaimer, please know that I will be recording you through an invisible and unreal mechanism. In order to indicate that you agree, please either respond or remain unresponsive. Please continue to focus on the sounds of your environment and continue to speak them out loud. I will now begin to describe the performance


I am sitting here at Parallel Performance Space in Brooklyn, NY. I am speaking into the camera on my computer. Here in the space with me, are sixteen audience members. They are each wearing a new mask prototype made of woven atmospheric particles interlaced through a selective ionic process that traps virus particles using infra-aural radio webs emitted by the human ear. This new technology makes it possible for us to once again be together in small spaces, to hug one another, and sit next to each other with our knees and elbows periodically touching by accident as we move. 


Everyone here is silently focused on the performance, blinking and slowly shifting their posture. They are listening to the space and my voice. Their phones have all been silenced. Now they are watching me light a candle. Some of them are nervous because the flame of the candle is reaching all the way up to the ceiling. There is a thin ribbon of fire with a black smoke tip that is drawing something out on the ceiling with a line of soot. Some of the audience members are acting as if they are not surprised or nervous. They're keeping their faces very still and devoid of expression. Some of them are trying to photograph the tall ribbon of flame with their phones. One person makes a short video for their Instagram story. Some others are looking back and forth at one another, wondering what will happen and waiting. The symbol drawn on the ceiling by flame is so far unrecognizable. It might be a slanted reflected cursive letter Q, an off kilter house, or the runic shape of Perthro reversed. No one can tell. For a while, people watch and wonder. Time passes. A thick hemp rope unfurls down from the ceiling and drops down to the floor with a heavy thud.


At this point, a person comes into the space from the street through the front door, a latecomer. They're trying to be small, silent and unnoticed out of politeness for the performance. Right now, as I'm speaking, this person is sitting down in the corner trying to appear quickly as if they are being observant and contemplative and they're pretending not to notice this reference to them. They want to appear as if they know what is happening. They are also wearing the new mask prototype. I want them to feel comfortable.


Now I will play back for you the sounds I have been recording of you speaking at home. Please listen closely:

00:00 / 04:52

While this loud sound is playing, I place a large transparent vat of diesel fuel in the center of the space. It is a beautiful transparent pink fluid. People are stunned at its beauty. How can such a toxic substance be so beautiful? Everyone wonders. The ribbon of flame is still tickling the ceiling. I use my hand to bend it down toward the vat of diesel. The black tip of smoke connects with the surface of the fluid. Some people seem nervous because diesel fuel is flammable, however not combustible. Many people are not aware of this distinction. The ribbon of flame slowly dips into the vat and begins to grow in size. People are squeezing their faces in fear and inhaling through their clenched teeth. Some are starting to shield their faces and ears with their hands. No one heads for the door. The intensity of the fire ribbon grows and grows until finally a figure emerges from the pink flaming liquid. It's a full size human wearing a green robe. The robed diesel person floats toward the radiator and, crouching down, they begin to turn the knob, opening the radiator further and further and further. A glowing purple ring of light grows with each turn. Once the purple ring of light reaches six feet in diameter, I blow out the candle. I walk into the purple ring of light, stand dramatically frozen for a moment, turn, and reach for the person closest to me to join me and they do. The person is wearing a thick wool plaid skits and has a large pile of blond curls stacked up on top of their head. They have a felt cloak with a large golden leaf broach pinned to their lapel. Underneath this, they're wearing a neoprene shirt - a rash guard like surfer's wear with a giant plastic zipper. Together we enter the portal and vanish. The green robed figure takes out a bucket of grey paint and a paint brush and, crouching down slowly, they begin to paint the plywood floor. They are groaning and wailing and complaining loudly about the floor, about how many times they have had to do this in the past and how each time, it never seems to matter. Someone always spills taffy or blood or resin and it always needs to be scraped up or sanded or covered over. They continue to paint the floor and cry. This lasts for over twenty minutes. Their tears sizzle as they drip and mix with the grey paint. Tiny smolders of atomized paint-tears begin to float throughout the room with a small being encapsulated in each floating speck. They all cry out and their own tiny tears begin to rain down on the performance attendees. The diesel fumes mix with the tear droplets and the people begin to feel light headed and nauseous. Some people try to escape but the door is jammed shut. Everyone wants to go home, but they can't. They're stuck.


Please, now, if you will, shift your awareness from the sounds in your atmosphere to the physical objects in your environment. Please speak the names of the objects you see around you. Say these things out loud. Say the colors of the objects. Be as descriptive as possible. Say the size of the objects. Describe their textures and whatever other particulars you notice or feel. For example, you might say: Beige Chenille sofa. Small cigarette stains. 5 x 8 deep red wool handmade Turkish Bokhara rug. Regular sized half eaten bowl of cereal. Crystal chandelier missing three light bulbs. Green plastic 2.5 gallon bucket with mop water. four square inches of peeling orange paint. Tiny chocolate fingerprints on thick mauve polyester drapes. Again- you are being recorded and you agree to this.


I will now play the real-time recording of your collective voices.

00:00 / 02:24

While you continue speaking and listening to yourselves speaking together, please simultaneously turn one-third of your awareness back to the performance at hand. We are here at Parallel Performance Space. The performance attendees are uncomfortable and scared.


A glowing spot begins to reveal itself on the ceiling between the cryptic soot symbol and the hemp rope. Several non-human entities start to slip through the glowing spot and descend into the space by sliding down the hemp rope. The beings are translucent, faceless, and silent. They emit an overwhelming feeling of love, safety, hope, transformation, and understanding. The odors of diesel fumes, soot, mop water and paint fumes dissolve and are replaced by the smells of lilac, hyacinth, roses, warm potato leek soup with chives, and chamomile tea. Warm local raw organic creamed honey bubbles up from the floor and everyone covers themselves in it. It's amazing. The performance attendees are now bursting into tears of joy and relief. They now know in their bones that everything is perfect everywhere in the world and for the first time in a long while, they feel hopeful. The glowing beings begin to hand out the most amazing cupcakes. Everyone is happy and hugging and eating cake together. Here is what it the space sounds like now:

00:00 / 03:24

In the mean time, The radiator begins to hum and the sound begins to grow into the harmonic sound of a thousand electronic angels breathing in unison and every pipe organ on earth begins to sing together. Bells are ringing in the clouds and the purple portal returns with a beautiful hum. I step out of it along with the performance attendee who joined me, and the floating green robed figure. We hold each other's hands and take a big dramatic bow. This is the end of the performance. People clap and clap and whoop, hollar, and whistle. Everyone is so happy. No one wants to leave. People want to debrief. What just happened? How can we explain this? One person says they saw their ancestors. Another person miraculously figured out why their car wouldn't start. One person's psoriasis vanished completely. Another realized how much their mother loved them. Yet another discovered the whereabouts of their lost passport. A few realized it was time for a career change. 


Now, people are outside smoking and mingling on the sidewalk. All the lights are extra sparkly, everything looks clear and bright. The air is crisp and clean like it hasn't been in years. Some people are starting to head home. People are walking arm in arm and gazing in each other's eyes. We start to clean up the space and get ready for bed. It was a good night. A performance like no other. 

N I N A  A. I S A B E L L E 

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