This is Sun, a contemporary interpretation of the legendary performance opera Victory Over The Sun.

Chapter 1

Two men are attached to flagpoles, which is why they can only walk immobile swaying. They stagger exclusively in straight lines from one end of the room to the other.

They push their way between the crowd of spectators. If the crowd does not clear the way, the performers stagger into the audience.

In the end, the two performers move to the corners of the room and become motionless sculptures.

Performer: Eifion Sven Myer, Sam Hebden 
Costumes: Jess Power

Chapter 2

The woman and the man have a boxing match. At the same time, the nonbinary person reads their political poems.

Performer: Sukhdev Parhar, Ilona Dynowski, Wassili Widmer

Chapter 3

The performer tries to communicate with the four speakers in the room through her voice.

The performer searches for harmony with the electronic sound. If she does not find this, she switches off the loudspeaker that disturbs her.

Performer: Rosa Farber

Review by Man Li, curator

Sun is a collective work launched by Wassili Widmer, inspired by the Russian opera ‘Victory over the Sun’. The first series of ‘Sun’ was performed as part of a live event, ‘Ubiquitous Authority’, on the ground floor at Glasgow Autonomous Space, in an empty space without obstacles. In this piece, the performers of the different parts can develop their own ideas and actions based on the frame created by Widmer. The performance combines bodily movements, sound, music and poetry, which encounter the space and audience in multiple dimensions.

The performance starts with two persons, Eifion Sven-Myer and Sam Hebden, wearing white costumes ornamented with black squares, who appear before the audience, moving toward them in controlled straight lines together or separately. Their serious demeanours in their masks with big, black eyes are contrasted by the comical wads of mock money at their ears and feet. They keep silent and their movements sometimes force the members of the audience to move and leave their comfort zones. After Sven-Myer and Hebden stop moving and stand back, Jessica Power, wearing a dark blue dress and wielding a pair of scissors, comes towards them. She squats in front of them and cuts off the black pieces of tape at their shins, one at a time, without hesitation. During this part, Jessica acts quickly and powerfully, and the audience can barely get a good look of her face before she has finished ‘cutting’ and leaves the stage.

Next, two boxers, Ilona Dynowski and Wassili Widmer, take the stage. After warming up their bodies, wearing boxing gloves and stretching, they start to fight each other. At first, they are relatively gentle with each other, but gradually, Dynowski grows angrier and appears to hit the man as hard as she can. She seems to vent her anger toward the ‘authority’, a symbol of power or gender inequality. The man, Widmer, feels the unexpected power of the woman but starts to retreat instead of counterattacking with the same strength. In the meantime, the so-called ‘time traveller’, Sukhdev Parhar, is reading poems loudly with pieces of paper in her hands, facing the audience directly and walking around in the space. She is a symbol of the connection between the past and the future, who, like a sage or a judge, is able to see through and criticise it all. Finally, sweaty and exhausted, the boxers stop fighting, the lovely and powerful sound of the poetry still floating in the air.

Suddenly, the space is quiet and empty again after the performers leave the stage. After half a minute, a soft, rhythmic voice appears as Rose Faber emerges, walking slowly among the crowd in a rectangular shape while humming a tune. Theperformance, ‘Sun’, ends with this lovely sound.

In conclusion, there is strong meaning behind ‘Sun’. In the early twentieth century, ‘Victory over the Sun’ was inspired by the Russian Revolution. The opera sought to oppose ‘the old accepted concept of the beautiful sun’, which hints to the opposition of traditions, such as the hierarchy among the artists and audiences of the art world, or even political phenomena like the old and unjust societal structures. Influenced by this concept, ‘Sun’ is posited in the current context of the UK, specifically related to Brexit. Its ideas also can evoke broader phenomena. For instance, in the history of China, the sun has been used as a symbol with very specific meanings, especially during Mao Zedong’s rule, when the sun, a symbol of hope, was also the symbol of Mao himself—he was viewed as a sun and the hero who would save China from disaster in the twenty century. Thus, it became impossible to deny him as a leader— the only choice was to respect and worship him. In this way, the ‘sun’ is the dominant ‘authority’ that cannot be questioned. This is also part of the concept of the event ‘Ubiquitous Authority’—‘authority’ is everywhere, and even though it is sometimes unreasonable, ordinary people cannot deny or oppose it. Therefore, this event poses an open question: how should we react when we encounter authority?