DOMINA DE BARDO
& An Encore: The Remnants of Domina de Bardo
by Saint Profanus
Presidio County Courthouse
Saturday, September 21 and Friday, September 27, 2019
8 am - 8 pm
On Saturday, September 21, 2019, Marfa Live Arts presented Domina de Bardo—a one-night only audience immersive installation housed within Marfa’s oldest central architectural feature, The Presidio County Courthouse Performance began at 5pm and concluded at 9pm.
DOMINA DE BARDO: AN EPHEMERAL EXPERIENCE
Directed by Saint Profanus
in collaboration with Angrette McCloskey - scenic design
Kendall Weir - neon fabrication
& the Presidio County Courthouse
with Joanna Bebelaki & Voices from the Community
Lily Aguero as CLOTHO
Diff Torres as LACHESI
Rose Belen Garcia as ATROPOS
Sauvignon Blanca as JUDGE CANTOR, video
JD DiFabbio as HOLLY HALLSTROM, video
Tom Schmidt as WEEPING MAN
Saint Profanus as BALANCE
MARFA LIVE ARTS PRODUCERS
Emma Rogers & JD DiFabbio
After the success of the first performance installation, Marfa Live Arts was invited to extend the installation elements of Domina de Bardo. An Encore: The Remnants of Domina de Bardo by Saint Profanus at the Presidio County Courthouse on Friday, September 27, 2019 from 8am-8pm.
Domina de Bardo was a site-specific work by the Marfa-based artist collaborative Saint Profanus founded by kb Thomason & Ria Leigh. Domina de Bardo was inspired by the ten foot statue of the Lady of Justice that sits atop the cupola sans her traditional symbolic attributes. When kb Thomason and Ria Leigh (Saint Profanus) moved to Marfa two years ago, one of the first things they noticed was the statue’s missing elements—her sword, scales, and blindfold. Marfa Live Arts approached the artists to collaborate on a project which spurred a dialogue about the concept of things “missing” in Marfa. The Lady of Justice became a point of reference and intrigue for the artists to develop an installation and performance in the cupola.
The performance was free and visitors were invited to visit the Courthouse anytime during this four-hour, ongoing performance. Patrons were welcomed at the main entrance to the Courthouse and be ushered into a courtroom where the experience began. Audience members navigated the roles of both observer and observed while bearing witness to a durational performance taking place in the cupola, existing in the space for the entirety of the evening length work.
The free live theater performance included oral histories, sound/music, costumes, videos, and installations at the Courthouse. Rooms in the Courthouse and the cupola were transformed by two immersive site-specific installations allowing both first-time and regular visitors to the Courthouse to see this public space in a new way.
Through transposing perspectives, Saint Profanus, with the support of Marfa Live Arts, endeavored to open an expansive dialogue questioning the supposed impartiality of justice and presumed accuracy of memory. Reconstructing lost meaning by re-interpreting traditionally held notions of “historical relevance”, the multi-media work offered a participatory exploration through and of the absurdity inherent in presenting an architecture for applications of justice.
The project began with a series of outreach initiatives designed to engage the local population and probe into collectively held conceptions of memory, meaning, and justice. The artists spoke to local historians and elders to investigate the mystery of the absent attributes. A story shared numerous times involved a citizen unhappy with Presidio County governance in the late 1890s pulling out a rifle as he left the courthouse and shooting the accessories out of the statue’s hands, proclaiming “there is no justice in Presidio County.” There is another popular tale of a young man putting a bikini on the statue in the 1970s. Other anecdotes include a swarm of bees surrounding the statue’s visage in the 1990s.
“In conversation with our own experienced sensibilities and both past and present mythologies regarding concepts of Justice, we will reflect on expanding pre-existing methodologies as potential to inform novel epistemological narrative in a creative context. We will avail of the experiential as a mutable vessel to hold, synthesize and reconstitute information, both received and generated through the modalities of installation.”
- Saint Profanus
Domina de Bardo is a Latin translation of "the lady of the Bardo". Latin was specifically chosen because it is the root language for both English and Spanish, the two dominant languages used in Presidio County. Bardo has multiple meanings across languages, interpreted to mean a liminal space or limbo, and in Spanish, used to describe a mess. In addition it has an interesting correlation to "cardo" - the latin root word for Cardinal. Lady Justice is considered one of the 4 "Cardinal" virtues and in Latin, cardo means "to hinge" as in all things hinge on these "virtues". In this way we are suggesting that much hinges on the messy liminal space that this symbolic statue presides over.
Photo by Jessica Lutz.
All photos of Domina de Bardo by Jessica Lutz.
Film Still from installation.
Photo by Danielle Levitt.
SAINT PROFANUS BIO:
Founded and directed by kb Thomason & Ria Leigh, Saint Profanus is an omni-disciplinary incubator for investigating human relationships to materiality and subjective experience. Intervening at various interstices of the concept-art-object axis, Saint Profanus is a mobile and unrestrained genesis point for new modes of (re)working familiar and digestible formats (including but not limited to: textile, sound, still/moving image, print media, intimate exchange and grand/mundane happenings) in order to prompt reflection on consensus reality. These interventions manifest through a profusion of the most sacred profane, present in the semiotics of the spectacle and of the source. Saint Profanus’ SCREEN Magazine, is currently in development and set to launch late 2019.
Domina de Bardo is generously supported by City of Marfa, The Rea Charitable Trust, Suzanne Deal Booth, Texas Commission on the Arts, Charlene Von Heyl, Tom Edens, Anonymous, Robert & Rosario Halpern, Laura Shell, and Emily Keeton. Education programs supported by Texas Women for the Arts. In-kind support provided by Ballroom Marfa, Do Your Thing Coffee, Chinati Foundation Education Department, Marfa Public Library, and Crowley Theater.
In countless ways, the following people working for Presidio County were instrumental in moving this project forward, Brenda Bentley (County Commissioner) and Chuck Simpson (Facilities Manager.) Tremendous gratitude to our cast and crew (many of whom volunteered their time) Lily Aguero, Diff Torres, Belen Garcia, Tom Schmidt, Sauvignon Blanca, Angrette McCloskey, Deirdre Hisler, Kendall Weir, Moritz Landgrebe, Pat Keesey, Yoseff Ben-Yehuda, Brenden Cicoria, SunTek Chung, Ian Lewis. Special thanks to Sam Watts & Marfa Studio of Arts/SITES Program, Mac White, Jessica Lutz, Tina Rivera, Mary Williams, Marfa and Presidio County Museum, Ed Cobos & Marfa Nutrition Center, Christine Olejniczak, Alpine Crafts Market, Karen Crenshaw, Sam Schonzeit, Melvin McSpadden, Danny Watts, Ginger Griffice, Bridget Weiss, and Dedie Taylor. Media support from Marfa Public Radio and Big Bend Sentinel.