Passages was a devised performance created to develop, test and demonstrate aspects of my PhD research. Following the principles developed through that research, I undertook the role of 'lighting artist', creating the lighting throughout the rehearsal period using a bespoke lighting control system I designed and built: Theolux.

In the later part of 1940 the German critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin travelled from Paris towards Lisbon as a refugee, fleeing the Gestapo and carrying an entry visa for the USA but no exit visa from France. Arriving at the Spanish-French border town of Portbou in poor health, Benjamin was refused entry. The border guards allowed him to stay in a local hotel before returning to France, but by the next morning Benjamin was dead. Beyond these bare facts, the circumstances surrounding Benjamin’s death are unclear, and it was this ambiguous and contested story that Passages set out to explore.

You can read more about Passages on the archived project website, as well as in the documentation I provided as part of my PhD submission. My mixed-media online essay, The Operator Connects, includes videos of the performance, as well as discussion of the research ideas behind it.

Photographs of Passages in performance, by Adam Legah: