Performance Devenir mascarilla, aire, guante, agua, mono, tierra, museo, luz...
Becoming Mask, Air, Glove, Water, Boiler Suit, Earth, Museum, Light... is a performance activity akin to a guided meditation situated in the exhibition space. In the present-day, in a pandemic world regulated by an infinite number of health regulations, our relationship with the world has been deeply affected. Becoming... seeks to consider the effects of implementing these measures on our bodies and our feelings, the individual and the common. And it does so by forcing us to perceive this situation, incorporating mask, boiler suit and glove as “relational objects” of our contemporaneity. The use of “protective equipment” seeks to stimulate “sensory deprivation” in such a way that safety materials become our allies in generating a poetic and critical reflection on our relationship with the environment, at all times mediated by these elements that make us more aware of limits, breathing, contact, danger and so on.
This piece by Theoria is based on the work of Lygia Clark and on recovering the critical tradition with which she confronted her work. It seeks the feeling of contact because of absence by stimulating the body through word and sound, full and undivided attention, and by emphasising the space between people. Clark’s clinic sought to connect with intimate, new or unknown sensory experiences that at times referred to “pre-life experiences”.
The performance piece Becoming Mask, Air, Glove, Water, Boiler Suit, Earth, Museum, Light… could not be staged because of health regulations for COVID-19 that have been implemented over the past few months in the form of restrictions on activities that can and cannot be staged in an exhibition space. The nature of the activity means that we have ruled out any non-in-person alternative and instead leave you with some considerations on this decision, as well as some material from the project in audio format for your listening.
Manifesto on presence
Theoria is a collective whose work is based on embodied knowledge and presence. We are aware that subjective experience is a naturalcultural and technological intertwining and therefore our interest is focused on the field of situated bodies and collective shared experience with its burgeoning psychophysical condition, constantly interacting with our surroundings. Our field of action is that of mindfulness in the movement of our sensitive phenomena, which includes the mind.
For the exhibition Become Immortal and Then Die, we worked on a multisensory device inspired by Lygia Clark’s objetos relacionais (relational objects) and our experience of Estruturaçâo do self, the borderline work between art and clinic that the artist developed at the end of her working life as a way to experience subjectivity from presence and not only from intellectual exercise. This type of “experiential performance” is based on the effect of the experiences of the experimenters, an “inner” experience that is nonetheless able to create a sensation of a “collective body” through what critic and curator Suely Rolnik has dubbed the “vibratile body”, a feeling of dissolving the self, of the limits of individual bodies and also of the boundaries between life and “non-life”.
The body and touch are “essential”.
Due to the situation caused by the pandemic, we had to modify our entire initial proposal and decided to ally ourselves with objetos relacionais that we have been incorporating over the past few months: mask, gloves, boiler suit and distance. Our new proposal was to create a situated meditation, understanding today’s exhibition space as a body that wavers between conservation and destruction and that, like our bodies, contains many “other lives” that can now become presence.
The proposal was based on summoning the psychophysical phenomena arising from our interaction with these relational objects of protection through mindfulness, being able to create a poetic and critical experience of the limits they create: a mask, accentuated breathing, condensed mist, the materiality of our palate, our saliva, air, water, earth. The porosity of a fabric that, although it tries to seal, can never succeed.
This collective experience requires our presence and cannot be replaced by a computer screen. It would be something else that would obviate the spirit of the experiential and experi-mental proposal of our present and shared bodies. For this reason, the performance piece Becoming Mask, Air, Glove, Water, Boiler Suit, Earth, Museum, Light… could not be staged because of the health regulations for COVID-19. Nonetheless, and as this something else, we leave you with some “sensory images” that you can experience here with or without a mask through your screen, the relational object par excellence of technocapitalism.
Perhaps the attention and immanence of the present situated experience can provide us with a clue of what life after death (of the subject) may be.
Theoria: Embodied knowledge
(Beatriz Regueira and María González in collaboration with Dasha Lavrennikov)
Sensory images: Prelude
Sit down, breathe deeply three times and try to become mindful of your body. You are probably in a private space, sitting in a comfortable position and preferably in silence. Imagine that you are with some other people in the lobby of the exhibition Become Immortal and Then Die, and yet you are still connected to your present, to your breath.
A voice begins to sound.