Mint is a palette-cleanser which seeks to engage the public in a temporal and intimidate space, to participate in a meditative and voyeuristic experience that hovers on the threshold of audio-visual perception. We collaborated closely with a composer, who in effect, helped to design the installation. Conceptually, it was simple: three walls fabricated out of white fabric and supported on bamboo form an intimate space. Mint harvested from the gardens covers the ground, while two cellists sit within the space, playing a single note so softly it is only audible within the space. Meanwhile, the courtyard’s acoustic qualities are employed, and three pianos inside the castle, but on different ends of the courtyard, each play the same note as the cellists, allowing the notes to float through the air and mingle with the audience’s footsteps crushing the mint as they pass between the cellists.

In terms of choreography: the audience entered the courtyard silently to three performers slowly pacing around the installation while the pianos play. Eerily, one wall disengages, and one performer slowly walks through the space; the cellists begin playing. Once out, she gestures to the audience to likewise move through the space, to experience the sensory surprises of mint and cellists. Once the entire audience has passed through, the wall reengages with the others; the cellists stop playing. Then the two far walls disengage, and process with the cellists between them to the opposite gate; the cellists leave the court, and the walls form a corridor. The audience follows, and the final wall herds them out.

Mint won the Prix du Jury. Audience members equally described it as a “dry baptism” and a funeral. Overall, there was a sense of joy on the audience’s faces as they entered the space, and of meditation upon exiting.

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