Charter & Manifest Performed
19 August Penzance Town Centre
During the week leading up to the second Tract weekend, Melissa Longenecker explored the streets of Penzance in order to create a detailed map of the town. Appropriately for a stranger to the area she did this by asking residents for directions to a variety of landmarks and locations, which were drawn as little street-maps on scraps of paper of different shapes and sizes. Some of these drawings were meticulous, some slap-dash: all bore the imprint and personality of the person she spoke to and became a record of that encounter and ensuing conversation.
On the Saturday afternoon she set to work assembling 100s of these fragments into a single map or collaged image of Penzance, kneeling amongst the shoppers on Causewayhead in the middle of the town. Many stopped and spontaneously offered advice and suggestions to her. And when finished the resulting object looked disarmingly beautiful.
Called Charter & Manifest, this was one of the few contributions to Tract that did not rely on any theatrical devices or props. Indeed there was no division between audience and performer. Instead Melissa acted as a facilitator and put the community itself centre stage. In capturing the civic pride and hospitality of the local people she made a powerful work of art that was full of humanity and optimism.