the surveyor

This piece is part of the special project, Progression, curated by Dana Claxton in 1993.

The following text is taken from Front Magazine vol. IV, no. 5, p. 10, May/June 1993:

On Friday, November 27, 1992, Boris Herak, a volunteer soldier in the Serbian Army, casually and unremorsefully confessed to the rape-murder of more than 18 Muslim women and the execution of more than 230 civilians of Bosnia and Herzegovina. the surveyor is an interdisciplinary performance created and performed by stephen o’connell. It is a personal inquiry that establishes an implicit relationship between the author and Boris Herak in order to draw attention to conditions in society which incubate deviant behaviour. Through the juxtaposition of the mundane with the profane, the artist attempts to create balance between his own responsibility in relation to current world events and his personal experience.

Formally, the project explores some of the infinite possibilities of interdisciplinary performance. It employs film, theatre, sound, video and movement, synthesizing them into a single performance event. the surveyor originally was site-specific, designed to take place in the rear mezzanine of a downtown store front. Able to accommodate only 30 patrons, the 400 sq. ft. soil-filled loft was utilized as a vehicle for heightening emotional intimacy and for questioning the established physical relationship between audience and performer.

Interdisciplinary art is, by its very nature motivated by a need question and re-evaluate the existence of order by challenging the demarcation of disciplines. To a certain extent, the surveyor is a political strategy articulated through an interdisciplinary performance event. It challenges the boundaries of individual and societal responsibility through its content, venue and form.