Unarchiving: Amnesia & Innocence
"Use a plastic tarp as a 'backstage' or 'prop' space
--or an obviously visible space used as a space to not be seen"
I took a walk and spent time in a park. I brought more attention to the unconscious and habitual acts that I do like scratching, yawning, looking at my phone, adjusting my sandals, etc. As I did these unextraordinary and daily acts, I made myself hyper conscious and aware of the act itself. I even repeated or elongated the action to see if people might notice or catch a glimpse. In essence, these acts are almost invisible because they are camouflaged in the quotidian and instinctive and animal bodies of people. These acts are impersonal and reactive to small and persistent stimuli—an itch, hearing a sound, seeing a bird, looking to cross a street, stopping to adjust a piece of clothing that got caught or loose on something.
I treated each move like a choreography, and the world was my stage and the people in view of me, my audience. I performed picking my nose, rubbing my eye, cocking my head to one side to stretch my neck… By brining awareness to the movements, I already added a plastic and performative element. Maybe no one would notice, but maybe someone who was seated for a while people-watching might be tuned in enough to notice a difference in my state compared to anyone else who would pass by. Maybe they would sense something a little “off” or strange or different about my presence.
At the park I purposely brough more presence and intentionality whenever a habitual move happened. I treated it like a performance installation. Either directly or through peripheral vision I would lock onto a specific person or group and perform for them. Do they notice me more than just a general body in space? Do they have any sense that I’m intentional right now? If they notice would they be curious or think I’m a weirdo?
Sometimes I would just let myself “be” and walk for 25 meters or a few minutes without being so intentional or self-aware. But then I would reflect on what I just did in the last paces or minutes and frame that for myself as an action—a choreographic gesture or an art action. I would go another few minutes or paces with the same non-extra-presence but now with the thought that I am actually doing a not doing anything, or my not doing anything in particular or especially is indeed being noted as something that’s being done.
I also like to people watch and see animals in their native habitats…people pushing babies in strollers and child-caring. Hipsters meeting with a friend or two. Workers doing their work or in a vehicle to do their work. Maybe someone would look at me being (me intently watching and analyzing) and consider me the way I consider everyone else…an animal in their native habitat in a normal state of being.
Funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the framework of the initiative NEUSTART KULTUR, aid programm DIS-TANZEN by the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland