Look No Body!, 1981
The Basement, Newcastle upon Tyne
A performance at the Basement involving a video monitor showing CCTV of the toilet just beyond the performance space, a sound tape and water.
The performance centres around the Orwellian ‘Big Brother’ invasion of personal and public space. The artist entered the space dragging a hose. Her action consisted of repeatedly filling a cup from the hose, drinking it, retiring to the toilet, urinating, flushing and returning. A sound track combined sounds of the artist's heart-beat and stomach rumbles with a scientific text describing the process of micturition, and the artist's personal and social reasons for making the work.
The themes of control, surveillance and coercive power are at the heart of Hatoum’s work. On arriving in London in 1975 she became aware of the proliferation of surveillance camera in public places.
"With Look No Body! I was considering the body in terms of its orifices, and how some of the orifices and the activities associated with them are considered socially acceptable and some not. I had a video camera in the place which was connected to a live camera in the toilet. I drank cups of water and offered every other cup to the audience, hoping to incite them to use the toilet."
Mona Hatoum in conversation with Michael Archer
Mona Hatoum, Look No Body!, 1981