Backward stopwatch 0

Silvija Čižaitė-Rudokienė, 2013-06-21
WOL performance duet (SE) “Recording a Tape”. Photo by Airida Rekštytė

In brief: The wave of the International Performance Festival washed Kaunas recently. The festival Creature prepared a rich table of treats for art admirers. Everybody could hear about such festivals and platforms organised in other countries as Month of Performance Art in Berlin, Pals and Live Action in Sweden, get acquainted and communicate with the organisers and participants of these festivals, give questions and watch their live performances or video documentations of performances.

The organisers and participants of the festival strove to show certain events and encourage the audience to give questions or solve the puzzle who created performances and why? Guests from other countries presented their works, aims and attitudes to the performance art and its dissemination.

Several participants of the festival Create were inclined to make jokes and manipulate with viewers this year: such were the shows of Ramūnas Jaras, Redas Diržys, Erik Wijkström, Orion Maxted, Wol and Joakim Stampe. The joke of every performance was different, however.

R. Jaras manipulated with viewers right from the attempt to get to see the performance – a coin was tossed and it determined whether a certain person could get to the gallery or he/she should stay outside and get interested in another part of the work. In the performance this artist moved according to the “slow motion” principle. When people started to worry that the performance would last until 8 or 8.30 pm, R. Jaras and his two assistants kneeled in front of the audience and made a church ritual “Mea culpa”. The artist teased, manipulated but stayed deadly serious till the end of the performance.

Meanwhile, O. Maxted created different rules for the viewer. The viewers became performers themselves involved in the action. The game gained meaning in the Confluence park, where O. Maxted started speaking about such things as unity, being together, understanding that all countries are united by such phenomenon as rain, about impact made on the world by several people, about the fact that unity could be power.

Two performers – E. Wijkström and J. Stampe – invited to completely different shows but they both reflected the identity of the place without avoiding the social charge enriched with irony and snappy notes.

The fact that art was not meant for beauty only was revealed by other performances too. For instance, Nathalie Mba Bikoro fried raw meat attached to her feet. By sanding on the grill she united with meat – the man can also be regarded as this peace of meat. What makes us different from animals and why do we become animals sometimes?

These are only several moments from the rich repertoire of performances. During the festival every active viewer could feel this marginal status, the ritual-like break, when he/she transits from one status to another. One could think about the paradox on the last day during the performance of MeKuSa “I will Vanish like Smoke”, when poems of Maironis were read in the thick smoke. The great Lithuanian poet wrote: “I will vanish like smoke not tossed by the wind, and no one will mention my name!”; however, the thick smoke disappeared but Maironis is still mentioned. The poet immortalised himself in the moment of disappearance. The art of performance is similar – although short-lived and passing, it creates the feeling. While the view disappears and is erased, the experience remains.

Photos by Airida Rekštytė

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