2014, 20:00 minutes
I am in the middle of an old industrial space, surrounded by empty cabinets and vitrines, naked from the waist down. I wear a green sweater, branches, brooms and mops tied around my torso, sticking up above my head. My hair obscures my face. A green pine tree car air freshener is tied around my penis. On the floor next to my feet is a jar filled with green liquid. The audience is only able to see into the space through a small rectangular hole in the door, a few at a time. When they lean in to look they smell the strong scent of pine. I stand as still as possible. My body shakes slightly, involuntarily. Gradually the shaking amplifies, until I lose control, knocking over the jar of green liquid and falling over. The branches, brooms and mops are all askew, digging into my body. I reach into one of the cabinets and take out a pair of scissors, which I use to cut myself free. I leave the branches, brooms and mops in a tangled pile and hang the air freshener on top. I leave the space.
When I received the invitation to perform at the Nomadic Arts Festival on the bus on the way back from Charciabałda to Warsaw, I was excited by the unique opportunity it offered. My first impulse was to do a performance bringing the trees and earth into the bus, but when I was asked that my performance not be messy I knew that I would have to take a different approach. Later, when I was given the opportunity to perform at the PRACOWNIA event in Warsaw, I decided instead to adapt my idea to this context. I wanted to create a still image which would gradually decay and fall apart by the end. I decided I would make myself into a tree, and try to stay as still as possible. Instead of consciously directing my movements, I would respond to my body’s own involuntary movements and gradually amplify them over the duration of the piece until the image finally collapsed. I wanted there to be an element of humour in the image: this absurd man-tree made of brooms and mops, with a car air freshener – a Wunderbaum – tied around his penis. I also wanted there to be something slightly unsettling about it. While exploring the site in preparation for the event, I discovered the perfect space: a workshop with a small rectangular hole in the door. Peering through it gives the audience a sense that they are witnessing something illicit, I think.
PRACOWNIA, Nomadic Arts Festival
Fundacja In Situ
28 August, 2014