Line up - Forensic 15, Derelict Sites Performance Festival, Preston

Line-up extends the already conflated space of Preston’s forensic crime houses - domestic/official/pretend - and adds the suspicion that someone’s home has been rented out as a location for a ridiculously low budget police drama. The performance suggests a spatial mix-up between the scene of the crime, the police station line-up room and the screen itself.

My assistant, Kate Whittaker, and I look official, but are not in a uniform. The audience/line-up is directed to stand in a line and look forwards. Strong light is directed on them. I seem to be taking orders from outside the room by radio mic. After a moment a roll of paper is unrolled in front of the audience/line-up. This takes several minutes. It contains a written narrative that is experienced linearly not unlike the time line of a disjointed film.

When it is fully unrolled, the paper fills the length of the wall. Slowly the text reveals that the paper is a stand-in for a two-way mirror.

Snatches of dialogue between our hero-detective and the eye-witness, supposedly on the other side of this mirror, form part of the text. This is interwoven with musings on the convention of the movie police line-up and comment on the performance the participants are experiencing etc. The tone ranges between discursive, conversational, narrative, informative and humorous.

Finally the line-up is told they are free to go. Presumably the suspect was not identified. Or maybe it was really a line-up for a film audition, in which case no one got the part.