Credits photos :
Written the 25th of August, in Vienna
AN OPEN LETTER TO WHO WANTS TO FEEL CONCERNED, FEEL FREE TO FORWARD
First and foremost, I take the opportunity of being awake to spread the word : the best treatment (and this is asserted by the medical professionals) to get me out of coma is to invite visitors by my side, more than being present they have to invent a new past life for me. Basically, these visitors must be very skilled and great storytellers. Yes, interaction with thousands of people in a short time period would get me out of my deep sleep. It is measured at 0,5 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. Indeed, my coma is quite light and could equal to what we call : Narcolepsy.
As all my relatives are dead, my very good friends ; Vladimir Miller, Claudia Hill, and Roberto Martinez undertook a heavy responsibility : inviting me to Mumok Hofstallung to be part of the Unstable Nights in the ImpulsTanz Vienna context. I was part of it between life and death, meant to re-enact the performance TectonicPlates we allegedly did with Julian Weber in Zurich at the ChleuChveuSpace in 2003.
Unstable Nights reminds me a lot of happenings I was involved in during the twentieth century with the Wiener Gruppe among others… (some archives are still visible in CemeteryQuartet). Well, I won’t repeat what Vladimir Miller already said so well. So I would settle for a quote. Here is the Vladimir Miller’s thank-you speech published on facebook :
“Thank you Julian Weber, Roberto Martínez, Claudia Hill for making, holding and sharing this space together!
Thank you guest artists Fred Gies, Claudia Bosse, Lenio Kaklea, Magda Chowaniec, Anne Juren, Otto Krause, Milan Loviska and Impulstanz FieldProject participants Alex Franz Zehetbauer, Djibril Sall, Ivan Jakaric, Lara Dâmaso, Julia Rohn, EgglyJumpy, Murat Adash, Mayassan Charafeddine, Gry Tingskog, Stephanie D. Handjiiska for your trust, bravery in the face of instability and your beautiful proposals!
Thank you to Alina Amman, Carl Dewald, and Till Gaterman who supported these days and nights with incredible patience and a swiss-knife skill set.
Thanks to the Impulstanz production and technical teams for embracing all our ideas and then changing it all up on a daily basis!
This project was conceived and curated by loveandarchitecture and curated in the framework of Impulstanz Mumok collaborations by Christine Standfest”
I want to give some thanks and “xOxoxo” to all the visitors who came to see us. Particuliary the group of visitors who brought me back to the light of the Perfomative Fields by inventing me amazing new past lives. The collective of writers you were, were so prolific and brillant that I can affront life again for an amount of time at least! I am feeling good like when I won the record of High Jump in 1885.”
PM (A PRIVATE MESSAGE) : Julian, I want you to know that I won’t ever hold our re-enactment against you. Why are we obsessed with History? By art critics writing worst than tabloïds? Look at the controversy again… some art critics wrote I jumped into fire, others said you pushed me into Burning Pleasures... So many enjoyed thesmelves in the speculation of it!
We must not forget that things get unsure even with re-enactment. Foreseen indetermination in a written score is pretty scary… Nonetheless, even if danger subsists safety remains ; Claudia is ready to give to children some chakra’s treatment with her massive soft pencil and Vladimir is making sure that the re-enactment is not about the accident happening a second time but about ART. Let’s make it again in a near future.
For better and for worse,
Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that our iconic EgglyJumpy is actually back to her long sleep, today the 29th of August. I can assert that she feels no pain. I might underline that in no way I pretend to be her successor.
As I inititiate a thesis about EgglyJumpy, I get exclusive rights on her work and access to her thoughts. Her computer directly linked to her brain, witnesses her ubiquity. In her electronic diary, I have found traces of how she experienced Unstable Nights. Here is a chosen extract where I figure as Visitor 3000. It is of course not the only reason why, even if I felt very touched, I chose to make public this part of her electronic diary. One of the main grounds is that it puts some lights on this mysterious and so-called re-enactment that Art History has discussed since it first representation in Zurich– by now, we probably point out the original version...
The 20th of July,
For seven days, I was fed with under-cooked or over-cooked rice noodles. In my shelter, the fan was playing the wind. I was dizzy from feeling all this people coming inside and being alternately awkward, intrusive or too comfortable.
A couple gently entered into it. Visitors 2002 and 2003 were none other than Thomas Proksch and Rocio Marano. In the dim light, my half-opened eyelids could discern some of their limb covered by water. I knew them from one of my past life. It happens that we performed together in Brussels. They were also injured, but not from the « drowning practice » leaded outside by Alex Franz and Gry Tingskog. As soon as they entered, our bodies were connecting and complaining to each others with no words.
Shortly, a tall blond girl entered with urgency as if it was too rainy outside, she was using the light of her Iphone to make sure not to walk on my props. Visitor 1988 was also someone I knew from one of my past life, Helena Dietrich with her broken shoulder joined us and sat on a little black pillow. She was good friend with Thomas and Rocio. I did not expect that my shelter would become a hospital’s room. It was not only about me. It was about the group who needed to have new past lives. Once our bodies get to know each others, we start to compose it together without thinking too much :
Each verse represents a different speaker:
The water was cold
My skin was young forever
Once the flow went very fast
And put me away from my parents
I got a job
I was working as a porno dancer
Every evening people were watching me
I jumped through the window
But I could fly
some pieces of glass in my mouth
hurt my tongue
I am censuring the worst sentences. We had to fight against painful memories that were coming up like human being’s deposit at the surface of the sea. We attempted to re-orient ourselves into safe and happy images. In spite of an all-out effort, narration was all the time going to a terrible scenario, concluding to the dark side of our own trauma. It seemed impossible to get out from the Hollywood dramaturgy and to the mass media one. We were conditioned.
A Samuel Beckett quote came up to my mind, I put all my effort to puzzle it. When I was finally ready to say it, Rocio, Thomas and Helena were already gone. I was whispering it to myself : “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail Again. Fail Better.” Some noodles fell apart on my belly. Exhausted, I fall asleep. I guess not for long though as I get disturbed by my peer’s singing “the Earth, the air, the fire, the water, return return return ayé ayé”, louder “THE EARTH, THE AIR, THE WATER, RETURN RETURN RETURN AYO AYO AYE AYE”. A young tall girl was here. She was Visitor number 1970. A potential artist, I thought, because of her style ; she was wearing a long purple dress with a hood on, plus an harness on her chest and platforms shoes. She was taking a selfie with me in the background as if I was the Eiffel Tower or Ivo Dimchev. When I wake up I am used to being quite unpleasant, and this happens one hundred times a day. While she was pulling a duckface, I asked her with a weak and breathy voice:
- You prefered me with eyes closed?
Surprised, she looked at me through the screen of her Iphone, not interested to turn towards me. Yes, I was half-alive, immobilized on my matress, my leg maintained under clay rubbles. My dreams were all the time colonized or interrupted by my trauma. It was sticking in the right side of my brain.
While sharing “our picture” without my consent on social media, she said without considering me :
- I love your presence.
Then, she disappeared.
Outside, my dear peer were navigating all along the huge and shinny plastic black thing that was waving and moving them in the space. Its irritating and crispy noise was actually mesmerising – soon the audience, using inflattable pillows as swings, were exchanging their pink elephant shot in the skull’s hallucination.
A new visitor entered. She was Visitor 3000. It was not the first time that she was visiting me. So far, she never dared to talk. Also, she would by no means participate to the composition of my new past life. She might be too shy to let herself go to the stream of conscioussness, especially when there is a group of people in my shelter. She was a very random person, she could have been from any time but always raised in a nunnery. Her little toe, the quintus, was missing on both sides. She was walking around with her wooden flip flops, bending her back, glancing at my privacy, looking at my environment as it was an artistic installation... Some spiders eggs were hanging on the ceiling. Day after day, my shelter really looked like a garbage. Plastic bottles were spread everywhere, having remained absent for such a long time, I ignored plastic was one of the XXI centtury first enemy. Looking around her, she finally asked me :
- EgglyJumpy, are you an engaged artist?
I did not except that from her skinny body such a strong voice would come out. Understanding she was refering to the plastic bottles, I replied to her :
- No, I am just hella thirsty.
- I won’t compose a new past life to you
- Ah you prefer me to be dead… It is much more easier to talk about dead people, isn’t it?
She nods her head and pretends to be embarassed. The damaged orange glove holding on to the iron bar of my shelter’s structure was scratching my scar. My leg began to stiffen.
- It is a dangerous game. I don’t want to be part of this. If I succeed in modifying your past… you will go through the re enactment. Julian is already dragging out an ice-cube with blond hair inside..
- Yeah it’s my hair… luckily, I will have it back tonight. After the second demolition, it is my time to go out. But in order that the re-enactment works, I have to go without thinking about my past. I should be confident.
- You have to re-enact what you have to forget… Is it a psychoanalytic practice? like re-exepriencing the trauma?
I felt already very tired because of the conversation. My brain was boiling, the temperature was so high, maybe 40°C, it was hard to say. I was passing out. I did not want to give a philosophical lesson about the “ewiger Wiederkehr”. Then, I slightly opened my eyes :
- Things are never the “same” I said... I just need a break in my mind to go out… but apparently it is impossible, people keep on asking what happened to me ! It is an inappropriate curiosity ! They are only able to compose thriller best-sellers ! Where have naivité and pace gone in this world ? And you, you don’t want to get me out from here !
Visitor 3000 was checking at her Ipad while I was talking, as if she was checking a score. I asked her :
- Am I doing right?
My heart was beating too fast and my neck veins swelled up.
- Interesting, muttering to herself while she was still looking at her Ipad as if she was reading what she was actually saying. Then, she went on : « So if I understand you.. people are inventing new past life for you in order for you to go out, and do a re-enactment that brought you into a “coma” sixteen years ago? »
- I told you ! We are never performing the same thing twice! That’s impossible! You see that exit of my shelter??? Take it!
She looked at me, gave me a smile and this time with an incredible pure voice said :
- « My shell is a bit burnt, my white a bit scrambled, and my yellow core harder… »
- How do you know it ? It is my thoughts!
- I am Elsa FrïtchGerald. I am a renowned scientist, I study you. I am working for Performance Research published by Routledge Journal.
- Usually people introduce themselves from the beginning. But I start to know you, you come every day Visitor 3000. It is not because you change your visitor number that you are not the same person Elsa FrïtchGerald. I can not run after you. Look (I bared my leg that was covered in bubble wrap), my right leg is stuck into clay rubbles… It gets jumpy. (I was shaking my leg on purpose).
- See you in a bit EgglyJumpy.
With these words and her face of fake empathy, Elsa FrïtchGerald left. I had a break. Five minutes with myself, thinking about my situation. I knew that it was soon time to go out ; prepared or not, successful or terrible past new life, it did not matter. Suddenly, signals were provided by invisible software. What a strange feeling… It was finally the day where we will put the puzzle’s pieces together. Julian’s performance and mine were so far stretched and separated into differents times! Chaos makes differents temporalities wants to merge into one.
Under me, I am feeling a shift of TectonicPlates. Outside, Julian is headstanding on his helmet ; the final touch of his motorbike protective suit. Under my leg, pieces of clay are becoming one block. My leg anormally warm is reacting to the Burning Pleasures performing, my skin is melting. The orange glove is not scratching me anymore but giving me caresses to calm me down… Julian is alighting the gothic caligraphy on the metal plate. By his side, a fire expert is sitting close to him. Alex Frank sings the Burning Pleasures’ flames: “In the kitchen, in my grandmother’s rooftop, in my bed, in the club, in my garden, into the void…”.
My knee is flexing and extending without my instructions, expressing my leg’s desire of jumping. My motoricity is failing, my nerves are raw. The orange glove activates itself, it becomes a proper hand, waving its fingers and finally grips my calf up to free it from the block of clay. The ascension is very slow, my leg looks unreal like if this part of my body was not mine. As soon as my leg is out, it starts to shake more and more.
My whole body is taken away by my leg shaking, making its path through the plastic bottles towards the exit of my shelter.
I am out. The light of the spot dazzles me. I am still on the ground, not ready to stand up even if my right leg wants it so much. If I do so, I will be out of control, jumping everywhere to reach Julian’s towers. People are hypnotized by the fire playing Franz’s nursery rhymes. Frozen at the corner of the Mumok Hofstallung, Darius Malobar and Gana Chossang, some famous art critics, recognizible by their round eyeglasses and their hairstyle: grey, sophisticated cut with gel that ensures to maintain a perfect geometry, are waiting gently for the accident happening. All the review they read about the piece and whatever the version, made them salivate so much. It is happening right NOW. Soon they look towards my direction and take videos of me moving on the floor. I feel like a fish out of oxygen that can not stabilize itself. A feeling of dread settles over Julian, still focusing on his movements though. My eyes are rolling towards the fire and my leg is burning! Thus, I quickly turn my face on the other side. I can see Murat Adash’s light square! Stéphanie and Vladimir Miller testing egg’s gravity between their bodies! Claudia Hill giving a chakra treatment to Julia Rohn! Djibrill wrapping himself into many blankets! Mayssan Bikes rolling a water melon! Roberto Martinez having a new haircut by Frank Willens! Lara Damaso sculpting some clay while an anonymous is kissing her! Anne Juren forming a cast to Gry Tingskog! Ivan Jakaric pouring water! Coco the sonic pet wooing spectators!
Julian slips on the floor, destroying Tower C. I finally stand up; it reminds me of my early stages. When I am up in the air, helium is penetrating my lung. Unintentionally, Elsa FrïtchGerald generates an acute and sharp sound. She felt ashamed and swallowed before entrusting to Gana Chossang and Marius Malobar:
- One second of delay and EgglyJumpy’s score does not intertwine with Julian Weber’s one.
Her voice was this time very loud and grave. The audience, suspicious, looked at her. Gana Chossang and Marius Malobar were too absorbed by the performance to reply. They were not blinking anymore, their pupils were so dilated that their eyes turned into black marbles. Knowing by heart the show’s components, they enjoyed this one second of delay, it was different from all the readings they experienced about the performance. Tower C collapses, making a terrible noise, some part of it fell down on Julian. He was taking his time, probably building some suspense before getting out from the rubbles. After a while, he moves again. Dust is forming clouds, the audience is coughing. I go intentionnaly next to the wall, I squeeze my leg on the marble, it is cold and it calms me down. The fire is still on. This time, I avoid the catastroph by contracting my muscles. It is a constant fight between my brain and my leg.
Desynchronization is starting again, now the rythm is too fast. There are at least two seconds of advance : EgglyJumpy’s helium voice sound is not tuned to her mouth anymore, but to mine. I shout when she is on the ground whereas Julian Weber is approaching Tower B. He does not have the right timing to start the demolition. EgglyJumpy is looking at the fire, wanting to reach the mermaid’s tail that is hanging on the ceiling just above the Burning Pleasures’ flames. I could see at the vibration of her body and at the glow in her eyes that she was preparing herself to sprint.
I feel very stressed. I have to overcome my shyness to intervine. The fire expert is keeping an eye on her but he is too dumbfounded by the heat to react.
Gana Chossang and Marius Malobar are enjoying each second of the « non-show », of course they also see the desynchronization of the performance and takes pleasure from it. I am slowly leaving them. I am approaching EgglyJumpy, full of sweat, with the intention of preventing her from jumping to the mermaid tail. She has to wait. I don’t want to be visible by the audience. I try to make myself as invisible as I can. I am going along the wall. Each step is so hard for me to make, I am feeling every spectators gaze on me. It is too late, I am now a performer. Gana Ghossang and Marius Malobar understand my movement, and suddenly go faster than me to stand between EgglyJumpy and I. They both shout on me:
- WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? WHO ALLOWS YOU TO CHANGE ART HISTORY MRS ELSA FRÏTCHGERALD?
I turned back looking at EgglyJumpy jumping. The flames were very high. My heart was beating, she was appearing and disappearing in the Burning Pleasure’s flames. After several jumps in the flames, she catches the wet mermaid tail.
- I need her to live! I reply with my strong voice this time.
They looked at me with disgust and envy. At this precise moment, I understood that we were all acting super-good. I swear and claim:
- Burger King! I think we synchronized again the performance… that’s great.
Marius Malobar, Gana Ghossang and Elsa FrïtchGerald moved back from the center of the room. I land properly from my high jump without squeezing someone. The fire was off with no smoke above.