Site specific performance
Photography by Ines van der Scheer
Thursday, the last one, at the gallery stairs:
...After floating in the canal a naked wet body gets in a transparent cocoon, moving across a large piece of the street in it, crawling, still.
DONA is a cycle of short performances inspired by the observation of neighbors and workers of the Hague china town where I used to live and their way of dealing with the reality.
The piece reflects on the common fears strengthened by the internal conflicts of an individual in relation to today’s world situation. My acts are metaphors of loneliness, vulnerability, impossibility of a balance, trespassing, being on the spotlight but still invisible.
The elements/materials for these performances are clear and simple (presence, movement, voice, salt, water, white shirt) to draw attention to the truly poetic part of the actions - the context. The juxtaposition of the lonely figure with the apparently indifferent surroundings highlights the atmosphere of the city and its sounds: the passing by people, the squeaky bikes, the air, the echo, the water. I use silent actions taken out of its usual context and body as a pure form as tools to achieve the poetic in the most simple every day circumstances.
Together the acts form a site-specific route, where the starting point is the bank of the river (canal) and the destination - the stairs of the gallery.
The title DONA is the first word of Dona Nobis Pacem phrase from the Agnus Dei part of a mass. The popular canon is used throughout the piece as the only spoken/sang material meaning "Give (grant) us peace" in Latin.
DONA was developed during a research on connection of trauma and genetics in BioScienece Institute, Leiden. It was presented for the first time in June 2016 in Leidse Schouburg. Every day of the week a short site specific performance was done outdoors until summarizing them into a video that was shown simultaneously with the last action on Friday inside the Theatre.
To me this work is in a way an example of "poetic art-activism". Though it stays abstract, it is still influenced by today’s world problematic, such as immigration, reevaluation of the principles of human decency, truth, reality and even environmental issues.