230 STEPS (2012)

Featured Long Durational Work

230 Steps (2012), Raegan Truax

Duration: 18 Hours and 51 minutes

Text by Raegan Truax
Cover photograph by Rafael Guendelman Hales

“230 Steps” was the first artistic performance at the Zentrum für Kunst and Urbanistik (ZKU) in Berlin. At 3am on August 13th, 2012, Truax began the piece utilizing the perimeter wall of the public park in which the former train depot resides. Walking on top of the wall in one direction for 18 hours and 51 minutes, Truax performed barefoot, without a clock, in silence, without sitting down, taking breaks, or eating. She left several elements up to chance including how to cross a large gap in the wall without coming down and how to retrieve layers of clothing she had shed as the temperature changed.

The following is Truax’s account of the performance:

It is 3am. Cargo freight passes slowly in front of the Behala Westhafen. I take one step. The sky is a deep black. I stand. The sky turns pink. I stand. The sun comes up. I take one step. A man walks his dog. Construction workers arrive to the dirt road below me. I stand. The ring train passes. I take one step. A gardener arrives and waters trees in the park. I am thirsty. I take one step. A couple snaps photographs. I remove my jacket. I place it behind me. I stand. A woman crosses the park quickly. She climbs onto the wall. She stands facing me. She sits down. She reads to me. She leaves. I take one step. A man brings me a bottle of water. I stand. Two teenagers shoot a video of the trains. They walk to me. They sit on the ground below and ask me questions. I take one step. I am silent. They ask more questions. An orange bulldozer drives back and forth. A worker yells to me in German. I take one step. I come to a gap. I inch my toes slowly over the edge. I stand. I wait. A man places two uneven boards of plywood over the gap. I take eight quick steps. My legs shake. The sun sets. A woman collects my jacket. She carries it to where I stand. We smile at each other. I take one step.

Raegan Truax is a durational performance artist who creates visceral, corporeal environments and takes breath, sweat, and skin as basic materials for works that exhaust, endure, and provoke the simultaneity of art and life. Her work has been presented at Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZKU) in Berlin, SOMarts in San Francisco, grüntaler9 in Berlin, The Northern California Performance Platform, Stanford University's Department of Art and Architecture, Berlin Art Week, Performance Studies International, Dance Theatre Workshop in New York City, Heizraum Concert Series in Berlin and The New Museum in New York City as collaborator to Carlos Motta’s international art project “We Who Feel Differently”. Truax’s website can be found here.