In Do You Believe in Water?, conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner employs minimalist props and scenarios to stage an oblique psychological drama. In a nearly bare loft space, Weiner's performers cluster around an octagonal pink table, enacting a series of what seem to be choreographed exercises or processes: playing patty-cake, grappling for possession of rectangular blocks, kissing and embracing, engaging in bizarrely coded conversations. The performers' physical actions and interactions with one another — and with the distinctively colored and shaped objects in the space — evolve in constantly shifting relationships that become a kind of language of inflected meaning. As these relationships unfold, viewers must synthesize these cues, together with a multi-layered soundtrack that suggests linguistic, rhetorical and philosophical puzzles. This performance translates themes and strategies seen in Weiner's conceptual artworks into the realm of theater.
A tape within a structure by Lawrence Weiner. Produced by The Kitchen; New York City; Fifi Corday and Moved Pictures, New York City. Videophotography: Carlota Schoolman, Michael H. Shamberg. Table: Jim Burton. Players: Robert Stearns, Steve Bluter, Suzanne Harris, Norman Fischer, Ann Wooster, Madeleine Burnside. Audio-track Overlap: Lawrence Weiner. Melodic Noise: A Tribe in/of New Guinea, from Niugini Sampela Song Bilong Yumi [Schlenker-Film, 45 rpm].
Voices: AZW Bentley, Lawrence Weiner.
First presentation: The Kitchen, New York City, 1976, as a component of the exhibition "With Relation to the Various Manners of Use," September 25-October 18, 1976.
Courtesy of the Kitchen Archives.