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2016-2017, Performance cycle in 6 parts

The performance cycle AEGIS inquires about the protective qualities of living matter, defence functions, shielding systems, and security aspects, questioning what valuable and timeless protections and safeties are. 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 reading the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the language of the place. Each chapter is closed by inviting audience members to speak their thoughts in their voices, which are 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 specific plants. It is said to function to defend plants from enemies. Scientists noted that latex carries such disagreeable properties that it better protects the plant than thorns, prickles, or hairs

The performance cycle was developed and presented with the collaboration of other artists on VestAndPage's 2016/2017 tour, which included 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 continuous exchange. Through extending this skin until tearing it, it crystallizes in a deflagration – 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.

Francesco Kiais

Ejercicios Mosqueto, Santiago de Chile, CL

Presented by Ejercicios Mosqueto in collaboration with INVE Plataforma de Arte Experimental, Matucana 100, PerfoLink

25 March 2016

AEGIS I (Care) is an act to honour friendship, solidarity and brotherhood.

Performance in collaboration with Prem Sarjo, Alexander Del Re and the audience

Photographs by Gonzalo Tejeda


II • Dreams (Istanbul)


Alt, Istanbul, TR

On the occasion of Transient Bodies, presented by Open Space Istanbul and Open Dialogue Istanbul

23 April 2016

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.

Performance in collaboration with Francesco Kiais, Burcak Konukman and the audience

Photographs by Alexander Harbaugh and Kayhan Kaygusuz, courtesy of OSI and ODI

Verena Stenke
Andrea Pagnes
Burcak Konukman
Francesco Kiais
III • Courage (New York)

Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, NY, US

In occasion of the curatorial project 21st Suffragettes - International Performance Art by Womencurated by Jill McDermid

13 May 2016

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.

Performance in collaboration with Joséphine Macri, Erik Hokanson and his beehive, as well as the audience

Photographs by Miao Jiaxin and Wen Yau

IV • Hope (Uppsala)

UKK Uppsala Konsert & Kongres, Uppsala, SW

On the occasion of K.R.O.P.P. Extended - In Praise of the Body: Diversity, curated by SU-EN

28 January 2017

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 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, the 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 motif 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 the injustices of man, with a prayer to God to have mercy on the modern world and the people who perpetrate evil.

Performance in collaboration with SU-EN, delta RA'i and the audience

Video captured by Agustin Ortiz Herrera and edited by VestAndPage

V • Equity (Trybunalski)


ODA Gallery, Piotrków Trybunalski, PL

On the 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 the 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 besides 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.

VI • Home (Thessaloniki)


SMCA State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GR

5th Thessaloniki Performance Festival, curated by Eirini Papakonstantinou

On the occasion of the 6th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art: Imagined Homes

21 October 2017


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, which – 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?

Collective performance opera in collaboration with Tomas Diafas, Fenia Kotsopoulou, Josephine Makris, Ariadne Pediotaki and Maria Zourou.

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