Trust

I had a hard time trying to explain concepts or theories to people who, most often due to class inequalities, were less educated. They were not capable of grasping notions that could have been important to provide their anxieties and fears with more precise translations: better words, phrasings that were easier to handle. I in turn was incapable of creating intelligible objects out of my listening. Until something in my body spoke out.

First time was with an analysand -that’s how patients are called in psychoanalysis- who was stuck in defense. Many possibilities stay out when one’s stuck in defense, struggling to justify oneself. So I leaned forwards in my chair, I bowed my head slightly and let a spitball fall down on the parquet. That single action proved meaningful as it unlocked possibilities for the analysand that were elaborated further on.

I think it was my first performance as well. It built trust. It worked as a door that works only once. Some things only have to work once.

When something is meaningful even before it’s done, doing it can only make sense. There are no right things to say when someone trusts you to the point of paying you to be paid attention to. Likewise, there are no right things to do when both you and your witnesses believe you’re doing right.

Performance is a necessary waste of trust. I do that which is not written. There’s no screenplay, no science backing what may succeed, no failure to shy away from, even if some things may only fail once.

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Strangeness

Performance is a lively art experience that may cause estrangement. When participating in artist residencies abroad, my main motivation is to be part of a cultural environment that is other than my own. The feeling of strangeness allows me to test at least three theoretical extremes: the singularity of the action (one-time performance), continuity (I am the other), ineffability.

Moving beyond the notion of site-specific, witness-specific actions may catalyze new forms of community founded upon the common perception of strangeness and the feeling of complicity it produces. Symbolically charged objects or surfaces may have to intervene. Among them, the body of the performer stands out as the place where to incarnate the anxiety of the other. The body is the border is the boundaries.

This is why sharing the same space with other artists, perhaps in an environment other than mine, and knowing other conceptions of what cannot be said, is vital to me.

As I embrace the stranger, I do not give up security; I give up the safety of identity.

Incompleteness

I became a performance artist because I recognised my incompleteness in the incompleteness of the other, and I decided to complete things through action. My art is not about material or ideological achievements, neither is it about crafting objects or creating sensory experiences. These cannot but be side effects of the action or means to completeness. Since my work has to do with completing things, every intent becomes artistic by the way a specific action embodies a certain intuition and is witnessed at least once, by at least one other. There must be as little technological mediation and as much ethical implication as possible. This I call the singularity of the action.

There are fundamental laws in performance art as I understand and practice it. These laws help me in the creative decision-making regarding what might be done and what might not; and they allow me to share and discuss aspects of creative processes with other people, whether they are artists or not. For instance, I assume that an artistic performance is the embodiment of a specific intuition, meaning that I am open to both intuition as a non-conceptual form of science and to the body of the other as a marker of difference in space. However, that difference shall not distract myself from the fact that the other is also the same. This I call continuity.

Performing is about doing not making. It is action, not a play. And there is plenty of room for failure. Witnessing is therefore an essential counteraction of the performing situation. The witness must be: present; other than the body of the performer; human and able to feel. This I call being safe from failure, thanks to the presence of the one who witnesses.