Click on the image below to see the full spectacle on video.
On February 28th 2016 I had the chance to perform a 20 minute lasting showing of my first solo piece in Tanzhaus Zurich. On this day I definitely realized, that this idea is working! Next to my other projects, I keep developing this centrepiece. News I'll post, of course, here.
On September 20th, 2014 I performed Marina Abramovic’s long lasting performance „Centerpiece“ within the framework of „Summernightsgala“ at Fondation Beyeler in Riehen / Basel, Switzerland.
A centerpiece is an ornamental object used on the center of a dining table.
The centerpiece, in this case the performer, is sitting on a rotating platform in a closed wooden box, where just the head is looking out. These boxes are between the dining tables on which the guests are enjoying their dinner (did they really enjoy it?)
For about four hours, I stared at the guests. Without really moving and no talking. It was my decision how long I wanted to stay with one person before I turned to another.
Marina Abramovic, who was curating the Summernightsgala 2014, called the guests around 7 p.m. to come into the hall and to take a seat on their tables. As soon as the unaware guests were seeing the people in the boxes, they started taking pictures of us with the smartphones. Living Art Performance, art with living material – human beings / performers. If we – those sitting in the boxes – were being perceived as humans or as art? I’m not so sure; possibly, neither were the guests. And maybe exactly this fact was so irritating.
Even if my head was just on the height of the table and you could say that I was helplessly exposed, I realized pretty soon that my situation is much more comfortable than the one of the guests.
Looks are incredibly strong. In our culture, we learn not to stare at strangers, to keep the glances short. It can be provoking, intimidating, or strange to stare at a person without talking to them.
Having this possibility in the frame of a performance was a really special and revealing experience. Nobody I stared at was able to keep the glance for longer than a few seconds. Many of them looked at me again and again, also smiled at me or were grimacing, only to change their gaze after a few seconds back to the other guests, and to restart the conversations.
The people sitting around me weren’t basically dismissive. But they were insecure and reserved, also shy and confused. They were confronted with a situation; they didn’t know how to handle it.
There were also some guests, even ones who realized that I wouldn’t respond to them, who talked to me. Or better put: they talked in monologues. A friendly provocation to make me talk, or the need of having someone to talk to?
The people who were sitting around my box were acting the whole time in a respectful, friendly, and also caring manner,. For example, when there was a glass in front of my face, they put it to the side, so I had a better view. The living art was also a good conversation connection between the various tables.
During the whole performance I was incredibly concentrated and present, physically and mentally. At the same time, I grew an imaginary protective wall around the box. The time was running. Needs like to move or to take a sip of water were non-existent.
There was just one moment of effort, during the auction, which took place right after the dinner. It was the moment where the people finally had a distraction, another spot they could look at, away from me. Picasso in a bathrobe, captured for eternity in a photograph. Humorous and eloquent, auctioned by Simon de Pury.
At this moment, it felt like the bubble of concentration and intimacy, which was built up during the last few hours, just started to burst. Probably Marina Abramovic realized this as well. As soon as the auction was closed, she asked all the performers to get out of the boxes and to finish the performance.
This was a very strong moment. First of all, to understand that it was over. I needed a moment to appear out of the concentration – to let the bubble fully burst. As I finally got out of the box, I stood there, next to my box, to the table and the people. Still as part of the performance, but also as a human being. Thunderous applause. It was the moment where I could look again at all the people which were sitting at my table. In their faces I saw respect and something I haven’t seen during the performance: openness.
During the exhibition 14 rooms in Basel I was as a performer part of the project "Revolving Doors" by Allora and Calzadilla, choreography: Rebecca Davis.
Ten performers were forming a human revolving door. Moving as a group through the round, white walled room we were provoking as well the visitors to move with us. Well sometimes it was easier than other times...The movements were inspired by formations of protest walks, military marches and cabaret dances.
The links below shows the interesting development of the exhibition: From the audition to the performance with audience.