Angelique Jobelle

Poetry, Performance & Installations by Artist Extraordinaire Angelique Jobelle!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Performance/Installation: "Autistic"
Final Project, University of Halibut, Alberta
Eaton Street, Grande Prairie, Alberta
May 22, 2005
I hadn't really spent any time thinking about my final project while I was in bed eating percocets, the deadline just kind of came flying up on me & I realized I needed to do something quick. So this just came to me in a flash. I think it had something to do with my "Landlubber" performance, some kind of psychic residue or something. Anyway my mind just filled with the images & sensations of disaster or disasters. All kinds of disasters: tornados, blizzards, ships sinking, bombs going off etc. Maybe I'd watched too many Guy Maddin movies during my bedridden period, taken too many narcotics, had too close a call with my academic career, I'm not sure. Anyway it just came to me that I was very privileged, being white, able to go to college, living in Canada which is pretty danger free really, having both parents still living & still married, and having a small trust fund so I don't have to work at Javacide. I mean, I really had it made & I instantly knew that I had to let someone rear end me on a freeway off-ramp, I had to to this as my final project, a kind of make it or break it type of thing. So I sent out invitations to everyone saying my Final Project performance was going to be at such & such a place at such & such a time, everyone was supposed to wait in the BP station at the foot of the Eaton Street off-ramp & look up the off-ramp at exactly 4pm.

Somehow I timed it perfectly - I had decided not to try to arrange or control anything - it was either going to work out or it wasn't - make it or break it - and it worked out perfectly - I followed a moving-van type of truck till it started to pull of at the offramp (I picked Eaton Street because of all the truck traffic that exited there) then I whipped around it, driving on the shoulder, sped up ahead of it, let it catch up with me near the bottom of the ramp & then slammed on my brakes, letting the truck smash into the back of my car. Off course the truck was slowing because of the oncoming merge with traffic & because of my earlier reckless driving, so the impact wasn't enough to be fatal for anyone. The truck driver was well-strapped in and, as I had anticipated, never in any real danger. The truck's hydraulic brakes worked well & basically the front end of the truck just squashed down on my hatchback, pretty much crushing it. Everyone was absolutely astonished when I jumped out of the car and took a bow.

Of course there was plenty of controversy, but the police couldn't really prove anything, technically the truck driver was at fault for rear-ending me & was happy enough that I (a) didn't sue him (he was an independent operator) and (b) paid him cash for repairs to the minor damage done to his truck bumpers & brakes &c. The University administration was furious but based on the strength of Professor MacLeod's arguments (it turns out he is much more famous & influential than I'd thought!) they allowed this to stand as my final project & - after I finish my incompletes this summer, I'll be able to graduate.