Book of Survival is a 12 hour durational performance where LOW PROFILE read, try to learn from and test each other on the survival advice offered by the 1960s publication, The Book of Survival* by Anthony Greenbank. Once read, the book offers the promise to leave its readers mentally equipped ‘to survive’.
Over the course of the performance, the artists and audience navigate the strange content of “The Book of Survival”, repeatedly putting this promise ‘to the test’. Questions are composed from the facts, information and guidance read out and the reader is repeatedly interrupted with these, expected to answer them to the best of her recollection. As the room fills with questions stuck to the walls, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember the ‘correct’ answers to questions composed hours earlier.
Book of Survival (like Survival Shelf which it later inspired) speaks to our desire to ‘be prepared’ for all eventualities. We take the book’s extraordinary promise of being able to achieve absolute survival and pull it apart – questioning the idea of fixing contracts of knowledge within a book format, the impossibility of being able to be imagine all possible emergency circumstances and drawing attention to the issue of singular authored advice or knowledge.
*The Book of Survival is made up of 265 pages of information about how to survive brake failure, constipation, ants, claustrophobia, falling debris, electric shock, ghosts, heart attack, cracked lips, loneliness, fall-out radiation, burglars, sandstorms, altitude sickness, being lost, darkness and so on.
(Also known as DRY RUN part 2: How to save your skin when disaster strikes without warning)
“DRY RUN parts 2 & 3” are part of an ongoing research project supported by Plymouth College of Art