Apology Project (Performance)

Maria Legault

2003, 04:27 minutes, colour, English


This 4:30 minute video documents the Apology Project, a performance that was shown in various venues in Canada and Europe from 2003 to 2011. This version of the performance was presented at Ne Plus Ultra Gallery in Toronto in 2003. For this piece, a group of people were invited to wear large paper bags over their heads and upper bodies, revealing their eyes only through two small holes. The performers were asked to stand in a tight cluster at the entrance of a gallery and to thus restrict the flow of visitors entering and leaving the space. They were instructed to only engage with the audience by saying I am sorry. The artist conceived this piece as a way to criticize passive aggressive behaviour, and false apologies in particular. In the piece, performers apologize for obstructing the entrance yet do no move; they wear paper bags over their bodies in apparent remorse but do not change their actions to rectify the problem. The tension between pretending to be sorry and actually meaning it and changing one’s behaviour accordingly is at the root of what is explored in this work.

Performance Documentation. Camera: Ryan Feldman.

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