Move & Position
There's a certain amount of time, the spectator needs to be engaged in order to comprehend. In this case the movement of an arm; from hanging position to completely upwards within 5 minutes...
Unstaged body performance at 'Kreuzberg Pavillon' during 'Project Space Festival in Berlin', 2016. Concept of the exhibition was a five minutes lasting event: "By reducing the opening hours, both the perception and the anticipation of the space are drastically altered." (Organization 'Kreuzberg Pavillon').
As a critical artist, I feel it's important to stay close to my general artistic development, especially when the possibility to address a public by exposure is set within certain boundaries. With my work, I question general assumptions and investigate universal aspects in relation to human existence and our (in)comprehension about it. In this case I focused on 'time' and 'event' within the aspects 'experience' and 'relativity', formulating a concept that would challenge the (time) limitation set by the initiator. I addressed the short span as a possibility, not as a restriction: By performing a certain movement extremely slow, I converted a (relatively) short moment into a (relatively) long moment and by doing so 'extended' time.
During the happening on August 6 2016, the gallery was completely darkened. It took a while before vistors noticed my 'Move'. For the spectator, the amount of time spent, giving attention to the observed, determines how and what is perceived. With this writing I allow myself to 'regard' the performance and place it within the context of my other work.
The performance itself and related thoughts that are generated by the project are not just a presentation of an abstract concept. It's also a deliberately executed act, that cannot escape to call upon figurative language. It relates to time as a meaningful aspect within comprehension. Action or movement can only be understood within the aspect of time. In this case, the time spend, defines the level of comprehension, within the setting as a whole. This action is a construction that offers the spectator to do so. The moment the spectator understands something is happening, is the moment it is perceived as 'performance'. It doesn't present itself as a spectacle and is only perceived as such when noticed. In this case most likely to happen, when a certain amount of movement is already achieved: At the point where something appears to 'happen', the spectator 'witnesses'. And by doing so, (s)he becomes 'involved'.
Certain positions that occur within the time frame of the movement might be experienced as symbolic. That way isolated moments of the movement call upon associations and feelings, causing a variety of tensions, defined by individual or collective understanding. Therefore it's inevitable that 'Move II' enters cultural and political realm, offering the possibility to rethink (personal) positions regarding interpretation, meaning, involvement and valuation.
Looked upon from a symbolic perspective, the start is solely 'presence'. The final moment, when the arm is lifted completely might reflect a human stop sign, marking the end of the happening because it falls together with the exact moment the event is finished. These two moments form the basic lines from which the concept is drawn upon. The moments in between involve amongst other themes 'relevance', 'signification', 'mediation' and 'understanding'. Perhaps 'understanding' is the most significant for this matter: The photographs were taken to document the happening and posted on social media. Exposed as fragments, without context, they cause exactly the opposite: misunderstanding. Although this aspect immediately relates to the initial concept, it called for images that would help the viewer to try and understand what had happened. Somebody removed a tag, linking him to the event. Others reacted confused or even extremely hostile, which is understandable if things are taken out of context.
I created a series of relating images, using photographic material as background and posted links to them. In a way they are explanatory, and in that sense this work is purely relational to previous events. While producing working on these images, processing became more interesting then explaining and so it became an event itself. Each significant step is filed as an image document. All stages after one another are a next 'Move'.
This kind of processing is closely related to my general creative process and overall concept: to connect. I often disregard the function of original (image) 'material' and use 'residue', 'left-overs' or 'pieces' (digital chips) for new work. Although I am aware of the restrictions of language it is a part of my work. In my video creations, words appear as images, co-existing as some sort of counterpart, or a different layer, floating along. Now and then it 'connects' by temporarily sticking with another layer. This is closely related to my painting background. I have always looked for a way to integrate different forms of communication and combine several media and other information. This started when I was an art student, creating walls out of articles from magazines and newspaper items I came across, as part of my work. For me the process of painting, drawing and graphic techniques are far more interesting as a certain framed end result and in that sense, it is still of influence in my work. As a sequence it is understandable and yet it speaks a language beyond reason.
I'm kind of a shape shifter when it comes to media, because I frequently like to stretch the possibilities of imagination beyond the visible to accomplish some sort of change in perception. After graduating in the directions of painting, drawing and graphic art, I soon felt the need to work outside framed borders by creating (site specific and/or interactive) installations and environments, using photography and video. This evolved into actions, performances and public interventions.
We often feel powerless when it comes to 'world problems'. As an artist I hope to contribute to a positive social development of the world by broadening horizons. There are many ways to this. In the case of performance 'Move' (II), I used confrontation. Not just regarding 'the public', but also to me personally. I risk something doing this; I put my personal 'position' at stake and my physical self.
Position is an ongoing theme that started with sculptural (site-specific) installation 'Position' in 2014.
It came just after the realization of sculptural installation 'Move' in which a 'move' is a meaningful part of the sculptural installation. The performance takes further on the idea of action and movement as the basic aspect of 'being' and the precondition to creation and communication.
After the first 'Move' performance I worked out a next for performance festival 'Winterwolven' in Rotterdam. Here I also held an iPad, showing digital object 'Cute Pet'. It's a digital animation showing an intimate relation between two body parts: a vulva and an inflamed eye. They are surrounded by a fleshy stretchable world they that is digitally composed around visual characteristics of the vulva and the eye itself. It builds upon a children's world depicting plastic pearls and soft colors and evolves from drawing into collages representing fantasy animals. I created my 'cute pet' to work as a distraction during the performance and a sort of 'mitigating circumstance' for the crucial point when the arm reaches a critical level. This 'connotation' however had an immediate effect on the way people related to me and my performance during the 10 minutes this performance took; twice as long as the first. As I was perceived as rather inactive, people started to tread me like an object and felt free to interfere, entering the personal space. As my hand is raised to a certain level, one person notices the movement and starts mirroring my action by standing directly in front of me, even touching my hand with the fingertips of his hands. As I go on without reacting to his action, he touches the screen.
My performances are a way to experience, connect and visualize and mostly take place within a public context. Sometimes however, they are worked out in a more closed environment, away from the public, in front of the video camera. Like 'Position II'. In this performance I challenged myself to take in a large variety of changing positions, covering myself with a red blanket on a black sofa, leaving an even amount of 'residual forms', as I pushed the blanket away, within the time frame of 10 seconds directed by the camera's timer. The time that it took to take in a new position including walking back to the sofa and grabbing the blanket. It is related to previous works: 'Position I' and 'Move' together. This experimental performance focuses on 'body' as a vehicle for action and influence, designed within the concept of a restrained frame, or setting. The acting 'self' in such a 'position' calls upon psychological resources. In this case determination and endurance.
The scenario without the direct presence of others rules out interaction but allows the action to be more related to the personal, within the course of life. Yet, both methods take in account the presence of 'the other'.