Traffic Lights

Traffic Lights


Site-specific project in the era of digital technologies.
Traffic Lights is a site-specific project which I presented in the public space of Riga, Latvia within the frame of the Riga Performance Days festival. I consider the preparation phase of the performance quite unusual as its concept was created in advance with the help of the Google Maps street view without me ever visiting the site before.

For the duration of the piece (3 hours) I was passing from one side of the street to the other using the zebra crossings. I deliberately chose such a junction where it was possible to walk in a “circle” (or in a square better to say) and where traffic lights were installed on each side of the street. Before each trespass I waited for the green light. I tried to walk in a neutral speed and with a “neutral” clothing (black shirt and trousers – with such a choice I also paid a humble homage to the history of my medium).

The performance was a commentary on the ways how the city environment structures the movement possibilities of us, humans. The chosen intersection was rather calm – in many cases I could cross the street safely even with the red light on. Yet by that I would violate the city rules and could be even fined for my behavior. Hence the city’s infrastructure and the machines installed in it (the traffic lights) together with the applicable law supported an artificially forced movement corresponding with the machines and suppressed the movement choices I would have naturally.
After few hours of following the orders of the lights I indeed had a feeling of becoming a strange mixture between a human and a robot.

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