Headless is a large scale performance art project led by Swedish collaborative duo, goldin+senneby. Since 2007, the project has engaged a range of writers, artists, designers, curators, journalists, bloggers, academics and film-makers to ‘investigate’ the existence of an ‘International Business Company’ (IBC) called Headless Ltd., registered offshore in the Bahamas. Mysterious in its own right – the only trace of it being registration papers – the project posits a link back from Headless Ltd. to a secret society called Acephale (headless) set up by sociologist/philosopher George Bataille in 1937.
Since 2008, I have acted as ‘spokesperson’ and/or ‘emissary’ for the project, appearing at many, though not all, of the project’s public manifestations in the place of the artists themselves. A significant aspect of the project for G+S is what they call their ‘act of withdrawal’. They do everything through agents and other third parties, doing (or appearing to do) nothing themselves. As such, they are mimicking the ways in which offshore-registered companies like Headless Ltd conceal themselves behind layers of intermediaries, agents and corporate structures.
This blog has been set up partly to archive my own contribution to Headless. As the project has developed my role has become more complex and more integrated into the performance aspects of it. Although I started out doing fairly straightforward public lectures, I have since carried out a series of ‘performances’ of one sort and another, that are integral to the functioning of the project as a whole. For example, talks I gave for the project in the Foret de Marly near Paris and at London Zoo, not only had their own audiences, but were recorded and incorporated into subsequent exhibits in galleries in Paris and Stockholm. This site is a repository for some of the material associated with these performances. A timeline for my collaboration, with links to project materials and events can be found here.
One of the primary outputs from the project will be the murder-mystery novel ‘Looking for Headless’ by the fictional author ‘KD’. These initials refer to a real individual, but that individual may or may not have had anything to do with the actual writing. Alternatively, British novelist living in Spain, John Barlow, also may or may not have had something to do with its production. Whatever is the case, the novel interweaves many of the ‘real’ events and perfomances from Headless into a sub-Dan Brown (if that’s possible) plot that has various characters, including myself, Barlow and G+S themselves chasing Headles Ltd. in various parts of the world. Following my talk at London Zoo, which ‘enacted’ Chapter 12 of the novel (i.e. it had already been written), the whole thing will be brought together and published….