Training for Exhaustion (2015)

Live Run/Performance – Lake Merrit, Oakland, California

In this iteration of Training for Exhaustion, performance artist Xandra Ibarra took on the guise of a hypnotist and training instructor and led sixteen strangers on a performance jog through Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.* Ibarra prepared the group to take on the corporeality of a cockroach before launching into the run to make the group amenable to states of heightened intersubjectivity. To prepare, the participants were instructed to don face visors, referred to as “cucaracha lenses,” grow exoskeletons via hypnosis, and learn a series of movements to assist with proper running technique. As they ran, the unit (or intrusion), listened to a combination of music tracks interspersed with scientific facts about cockroaches; their goal was to build stamina to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Training for Exhaustion considers fatigue, as opposed to refusal and/or liberation, as a primary mode of being in our current moment, while reflecting on the enduring qualities of cockroaches—including intelligence, molting, evasiveness, breeding, durability, mutation and speed—as a model to become a racialized species form.

*This work was part of an experimental art and performance series that combined absurd workouts with theory entitled “Heavy Breathing” created by Sophia Wang and Lisa Rybovich.
Photos below by Xandra Ibarra and Autumn Swisher