We talk of ‘courtroom dramas’ and the ‘enactment of laws’, recognising that what goes on in a court room – the attempt to realise justice through legal processes – is performance. This performance is acted out by individuals, each one acting from their own set of beliefs, assumptions, prejudices, desires, privileges, and fears. These internal discourses are rarely openly acknowledged, much less expressed, but they form the core materials from which the scripts of each courtroom drama are written.
This is especially true for jurors – the amateur actors in the courtroom drama, prized for their ordinariness, non-professional, but hopefully never unprofessional. Any one of us can be a juror. For after all, what is justice but just us?
This piece is a collection of reflections on jury service by ordinary people, knitted together into one reflection, forcing us to face the universal nature of the issues we each grapple with as we pass judgement on each other in our communities, as we attempt to live in justice and harmony with one another. Played through 12 headsets arranged around the table in the Jury Room, the piece invited audiences to re-enact the process of reflecting as though serving on a jury.
Christmas Night Light is a project of OVADA Oxfordshire Visual Arts Agency.
This work was inspired in part by the paper ‘What Assumptions about Human Behaviour Underlie Asylum Judgements’, Gleeson, Herlihy & Turner 2010, an investigation into the assumptions that inform the judgements made by judges in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
For kit, many thanks to the lovely Duncan at Silentnoizevents.com