Performance cycle in 6 parts
The performance cycle inquires the protective qualities of living matter, defence functions, shielding systems, and aspects of security, questioning what are valuable and timeless protections and safeties. In each chapter of the cycle, the bodily symbolic acts of the artists are to honour a specific human trait and persons that embody it. It is accompanied by the reading of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the language of the place. Each chapter is closed by inviting members of the audience to speak their considerations voice-looped as the final Choir of Aegis. The artists work with full-body latex doubles: Latex is a milky liquid usually exuded and actively moved to areas after tissue injury on certain plants, and said to function to defend plants from enemies. Scientists noted that latex carries with it such disagreeable properties that it becomes a better protection to the plant than thorns, prickles, or hairs.
The performance cycle has been developed and presented with the collaboration of other artists on VestAndPage's 2016/2017-tour with stations in Santiago de Chile (Care), Istanbul (Dreams), New York (Courage), Uppsala (Hope), Piotrków Trybunalski (Equity), and Thessaloniki (Home).
Recordings of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights produced for the performance are available for free Public Domain audio download in the following languages:
In VestAndPage I see a skin that unites and separates; a diaphragm, a hyle that is never enough to contain us and that fragments itself. I see a cultural identity that is not reflected in a fixation on a canon, or on an aesthetic ideal, but more on the metamorphosis, the development of a process and a continuous exchange. Through extending this skin until tearing it, it crystalizes in a deflagration, in a slow and knowing explosion, where the bodies in the end support a design lined up in the air, in an unrepeatable form and already exhausted in its happening. Andrea and Verena approach as far as possible the authenticity of an act before it passes and slides away, leaving us in the dance of fast-too-fast happening of the things around us. I see this as a long goodbye, as a knowing divorce from an old dress (lived and loved), for being able to continue to live and love.
AEGIS I (CARE)
Ejercicios Mosqueto, Santiago de Chile, CL
Presented by Ejercicios Mosqueto in collaboration with INVE Plataforma de Arte Experimental, Matucana 100, PerfoLink
Performance in collaboration with Prem Sarjo, Alexander Del Re and the audience
25 March 2016
Photographs by Gonzalo Tejeda
AEGIS I (Care) is as an act to honour friendship, solidarity and brotherhood.
AEGIS II (DREAMS)
Alt, Istanbul, TR
In occasion of Transient Bodies, presented by Open Space Istanbul and Open Dialogue Istanbul
Performance in collaboration with Francesco Kiais, Burcak Konukman and the audience
23 April 2016
Photographs by Alexander Harbaugh and Kayhan Kaygusuz, courtesy of OSI and ODI
AEGIS II (Dreams) is an act to honour our dreams and desires, the world as it is as and as we imagine it to be.
AEGIS III (COURAGE)
Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, NY, US
In occasion of the curatorial project 21st Suffragettes - International Performance Art by Women, curated by Jill McDermid
Performance in collaboration with Joséphine Macri, Erik Hokanson and his beehive, as well as the audience
13 May 2016
Photographs by Miao Jiaxin and Wen Yau
AEGIS III (Courage) is an act to honour the courage of girls and women. It includes statics and texts about domestic violence, rape and abuse, as well as accounts of Mexican street girls. The recording includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English, the singing of Greek artist Joséphine Macri, superposed with the recording of a beehive – an all female structure.
AEGIS IV (HOPE)
UKK Uppsala Konsert & Kongres, Uppsala, SW
In occasion of K.R.O.P.P. Extended - In Praise of the Body: Diversity, curated by SU-EN
28 January 2017
Performance in collaboration with SU-EN, delta RA'i and the audience
Video captured by Agustin Ortiz Herrera and edited by VestAndPage
AEGIS IV (Hope) is an act to honour the voices and hopes of children in besieged areas, and questions the ideas of liberation and enlightenment. It references to Elpis, the Spirit of Hope in Greek mythology, who stayed inside Pandora's box after all the evils had flown out. The soundtrack includes recordings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Swedish, spoken word of YouTube videos and news of accounts of children and young adults in war zones, as well as statements by politicians, compositions by Mauro Sambo and Woob (Paul Frankland) as well as the recurring motive of the historic piece Gloomy Sunday (The Hungarian Suicide Song) - Rezső Seress wrote it in 1933 at the time of the Great Depression and increasing fascist influence in the writer's native Hungary. Between personal melancholy and concerns about the future of the world, the song's lyrics reproach to the injustices of man, with a prayer to God to have mercy on the modern world and the people who perpetrate evil.
AEGIS V (EQUITY)
ODA Gallery, Piotrków Trybunalski, PL
In occasion of XIX Interakcje Festival 2017, curated by Gisela Hochuli
12 May 2017
AEGIS V (Equity) is an act to honour Aequitas, the Latin concept of justice, equality and fairness, and basic principle of Roman law in the form of compensational justice. As a virtue, Aequitas corresponds to serenity, allowing for dignity even in critical situations. The soundtrack includes excerpts of interviews with Eva Mozes Kor, a remarkable Rumanian Auschwitz Holocaust survivor. Active by continuing to give testimony through lectures and interviews, in April 2015 she travelled to Germany to testify in the trial of former Auschwitz Nazi Oskar Groening, where she publicly forgave him and even embraced him in court. She advocates "forgiveness in a troubled world that needs something beside punishment." The spoken texts are inspired by the defence speech that Pagnes’ father wrote at trial in 1987, before being sentenced for having uncovered and accused municipal corporations to steal public money and exploit workers’ rights.
AEGIS VI (HOME)
SMCA State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GR
5th Thessaloniki Performance Festival, curated by Eirini Papakonstantinou
Upcoming – Sat, 21 October 2017
Collective performance opera in collaboration with Tomas Diafas, Fenia Kotsopoulou, Josephine Makris, Ariadne Pediotaki and Maria Zourou.
AEGIS VI (Home) is an act to honour the ideal force of a community and sites of belonging, while questioning the precarious umbrella of state systems defining both the collective and places. It refers to Hestia, the Goddess of Greek mythology of the right ordering of domesticity, family, home and the state. Hestia is the hearth, the centre for community and governments’ ritual and secular focus. She resides in every home as the keeper of the flame continuously kept ablaze, that – in the eyes of the artists – has the capability to warm as well as to destroy. The collective performance opera – developed in collaboration with five Greek artists during a one-week residency at the SMCA – aims to reflect upon the collective in site, as well as origin and distance. People have been and are forcibly displaced, living in places not considered their own. Is home/Heimat a site, my body, memory, a hearth… your hand? How can we come from a country? How can a human being come from a concept?