The Guide

Huis Marseille, 2017

The Guide is a participatory performance at Huis Marseille, during Museumnacht 2017.

Alban Karsten appointed himself as a guide through the narrow passages and steep staircases of Huis Marseille, with his personal belief that the best way to get to know an architecture is by carrying objects through it.

The object, in the start of the tour defined as “The Problem”, has to travel with the group at all times during the course of the tour. The Guide asks the participants to carry this problem for him, but in order to successfully ascend and descend the stairs without getting stuck, the problem is designed as a solution.

The problem is a semi-abstract object; it is not clear from which side the problem should be approached. While it has handles, it does not lift delicately, so gradually the entire audience becomes involved in moving the object through the museum’s stairwells. On each floor, the group stops and The Guide talks about a personal problem, about the times he got stuck, and invites the audience to share their stories too.

During the performance, The Guide uses strategies dissected from television codes; sharing an intimate story as a motive to carry the object around as a pain body. In order to create the feeling of a common objective, the audience is invited to add personal anecdotes that will charge the object.

The Guide is an investigation into different carrier modes of an audience — exploring how to plant collective sentiment and building purpose for a collective action.

Dimensions: 80 x 250 x 120 cm (The Problem)
Materials: plywood, pine round wooden rods, hand turned oak handles

Made possible with the kind help of WOW Amsterdam, Huis Marseille, Tom Kemp, Cyril MenouillardKitty Maria and the participants.