Documenting a performance

In a world where visibility is everything, where something almost only has value, or has only really existed, when made visible; it is a poetic provocation to work with that which is invisible. When we as people focus on the visible to the extent which we do today, one could ask, if states of being such as dwelling, ritual timeresting in the moment, are actually lost to us?

When working with performance art, the documentation of the work is always a challenge and an ongoing field of study and research. Documentation can take many forms: visual media, writing, reflections, interviews, original charged objects from the performance. And when it really comes down to basics, that which is the true document of the performance, may actually be the echo in the people involved.

When the documentation of a performance takes place, the specific material actually becomes a new piece of art in itself. To communicate what took place during a performance, through visual media, is almost impossible, because one has to communicate sensations, reflections, sensuous stimuli, conflict etc. Further, a performance almost always resonates in the people involved, long after the specific performance is over. And how do you capture and communicate this resonance? Therefore the documentation can only be metaphorical. The documentation points towards the specific moment in time, where and when the performance took place.

As a part of the series of electro-acoustic performance-installations, Five Apartments, the documentation was extra challenging, because the piece was about ‘the intimate encounter‘. The guests who visited the performance alone for one hour, were therefore given a moment with no documentation, no camera lenses. During the five days that Five Apartments took place, over 60 people visited the performance. Over 60 unique encounters took place, and only five of them were documented.

It will never be made public what happened during the undocumented performances. A conscious tease of todays obsession with visibility. And even though the situations and encounters were not documented, they most certainly happened, and still resonate in the people and spaces involved.

On the official Five Apartments website, each movie can be found behind each apartment icon:

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