Hannah McDougall talks with performance designers Mathilde Polmard & Margarita Ianev about their two works featured in The Container Series and The Waterfront Series, for The Performance Arcade 2013.


What will you be presenting in the Arcade?

This year we are presenting two new works: a one-off culinary event called Cooking Class II on the Saturday as well as a more permanent installation in one of the containers, called Above our heads. Cooking Class II involves audience participation in the preparation of a feast of fruit and vegetables over the course of five hours. We will also be performing in this work: cutting fruit and vegetables and inviting the audience to help build the feast.Above Our Heads is a cloud made from 1000 white teacups hanging inside a shipping container, creating a unique spatial and sound experience with the cups clinking in together in the wind.

Are your two works connected in any way?

Not really… Cooking Class II was a development from Cooking Class I: one of Margarita’s projects at University, and a feature of The Performance Arcade 2011. We decided to push the work further and work together on this new iteration of the series. Above Our Heads was created and developed by both of us in collaboration, and is therefore quite different from any work we would put out separately! 

What do you enjoy most about what you do as performance designers?

The involvement and reaction of the audience is definitely a driver in our work. Above all, we design for the people who will inhabit/participate in the performance. How a space affects people can be really powerful and the shift of atmospheres changes the way we feel. It is atmospheres we aim to create with our designs.

What have been the biggest challenges so far with this project?

… Finding 1000 white cups!

 What would you like to get out of the Arcade this year?

An amazing collaborative body of work and lots of smiles : )

Above our Heads will be open  from the 14th – 17th February, 10am-11pm, and Cooking Class II will be performed 16th February 12pm-6pm in the Performance Arcade on Wellington’s waterfront, just behind Te Papa.


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