Tamara MacArthur, It’s All Over But the Dreaming, 2020

Following on from her 2019 Art Late performance at Dovecot Studios, Tamara MacArthur creates a new online performance.

Tamara MacArthur, It’s All Over But the Dreaming, 2020

About Tamara MacArthur, It’s All Over But the Dreaming, 2020

31st Jul 2020 to 30th Aug 2020
Live performance 31st July / Video response 10th – 30th August.
Online Event Edinburgh
Event organiser/part of Edinburgh Art Festival
Visit the event website here

Following on from her 2019 Art Late performance at Dovecot Studios, Tamara MacArthur creates a new online performance investigating our desire for closeness and contemporary methods devised to simulate human contact in a time of social distancing. For It’s All Over But the Dreaming, the artist will perform live from an elaborate theatrical set built in her studio, holding close a hand-made life-size doll, to explore themes of loneliness, yearning and futility in relation to the enforced isolation we have experienced since Coronavirus.

To book to attend the live performance on Friday, 31 July at 6pm please click the website link above.

After the live performance, a new video work will be available to view from 10 – 30 August.


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The scene will show a house on a sandy island in the midst of a vast glittering storm. The island has already started to erode and the house, with its leaking roof, will soon crumble to the sea. Everything’s falling apart.

Sitting in front of the house, I will perform holding onto a life-size doll formed from memories of bodies that once held me. The doll references an anecdotal story in which the painter Oskar Kokoschka commissioned a doll-maker to replicate his lost love Alma Mahler. He wanted it to look and feel so much like her, that he would believe it was her. But even after many alterations, the doll was a clumsy substitute and he was ultimately disappointed.

During the durational performance, audience members will enter a Zoom call and anonymously observe this scene of imagined intimacy for as long as they wish. They’ll also be able to request a one-on-one performance from me: to metaphorically ‘inhabit’ the body of the doll - their face filling the space. I will tell them a story of a better time... a dream/ fantasy/ hope. There will be periods in-between, where the body is left empty and unanimated, in which I’m waiting for the hole to be filled. It serves as a digital parallel to my pre-lockdown performances, in which an audience is present but my attention is devoted to individuals in turn.

Because as everything falls apart around us, as the waves erode our sandy island and the foolish house we built on it, my fanciful story is an act of care and attempt at protection.

The fantasy of an embrace keeps the loneliness at bay.
Tamara MacArthur


Image: Tamara MacArthur, And Baby I Just Melt Away Fall Like Rain, MOMus Experimental, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Tamara MacArthur, It’s All Over But the Dreaming, 2020 are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment. All information (whether in text or photographs) is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact.

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