A Paper Life

The making of A Paper Life

Every new performance is an adventure. A voyage into an unknown world. As if we were explorers searching for undiscovered land.
Mostly you want to go further travel for miles and miles, away from the safe surroundings of the well known, the everyday. Take trains, planes, boats, donkeys, camels or just your two feet to get as far away as you can.

There is also the other type of discovery: to boldly go where no one has gone before, because it is so close that nobody sees it.

And that is where we wanted to go with A Paper Life.

A paper performance

Below is the story of how this special TAMTAM performance was made. Not with a selection of objects, but with only one material as actor and decor: sturdy brown wrapping paper. Read more here

A paper exploration

Of course we did not know that A Paper Life would be the title. We just loved the material, simple brown wrapping paper. We wanted to make a short act for our son’s wedding and had only one day in between tours and rehearsals. We ordered a big roll of paper and found a dispenser on a second-hand website. The act was fun to do and it left us with inspiration for some new show in the future.

The future was sooner than we expected: The Festival Deventer Op Stelten asked us to create an artwork for an exposition on Dutch Landscapes in the historic Bergkerk in our hometown Deventer, and to add a performance related to that during the weekend of the festival.

The idea for the artwork was to make two object-landscape-dioramas in two large wooden cases that had been used in the performance Smart As A Donkey. One was to become an landscape in the ice age and the other one a landscape of the end age. And then we had the idea of making a performance about the live in between those two era’s.

That was the moment that we remembered the roll of wrapping paper standing in a corner of the workshop. We realised that the essence of the material was not only it’s versatility, it’s ability to serve as basic material for creatures and landscapes.
Working with wrapping paper also contained an important message. We have always worked with found objects and things that other people throw away.
Now we had a material in our hands, that was only used to wrap around objects to be thrown away instantly after the objects had been unwrapped. The pinnacle of worthlessness. And moreover, a fragile material that also can show amazing strength. This could be a metaphor for how fragile our life on this planet is. This sounded like we needed to investigate it more and start an expedition into a world so close, so obvious and so humble that it was yet undiscovered.
And discover more about a paper life.


Below are some picture made during the research process.