© The Artist, Photos: Camillo Brau
Don't be a Stranger
Collaborative performance with Filippa Pettersson
KW Institute for Contemporary Art
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Link to KW website
Don't Be a Stranger
A: I can never really know that Filippa is responding the way we’ve rehearsed, but I trust her, I trust that she is.
F: I’m waiting for Amy to start talking. She’s standing right above me in the attic, with a microphone in her hand.
A: When I look at the words and try to somehow tell the stories I stutter and ramble, because the reality is that I'm not running my mouth to a good friend over lunch but actually am standing alone in a cluttered attic trying to be casual while the nerves are pulsing through me. It's a lot to keep in control, but I like the feeling.
F: I wonder if they can see my knees shaking as I start to move around, placing our ceramics around the perimeter of the stage.
A: This is one of the only two times that I see Filippa in the duration - it’s a bit like a check in point - I know we’re on the same page now.
F: I sit down on the floor. Surrounding me are the ceramic shapes me and Amy have made, they are like pots but without bottoms
A: I describe the basement at face value with no script - again back to the sort of casual rambling diatribe but this time I know it doesn’t matter as much because Filippa is upstairs playing a prerecorded sound of the basement through another speaker which she covers and uncovers in a variety of ways with our ceramics to alter the sound, sort of the way it’s altered for me as I’m walking around the basement - the sounds vibrating differently off of varying materials.
F: I am on my knees now, I take one shape and put it over the speaker, it’s big and round like a bucket and almost completely swallows the speaker. I place another shape on top of the bucket, this one shaped like a bee-hive. Then a long, thin tube.
A: I sort of leave whenever I feel satisfied, not sure if Filippa is still working with the sound but it doesn’t matter so much - my previous experience of the actions she’s performing then is captivating, the audience doesn’t need my voice now, her gesture is simple and good to look at, even with such an aggressive sound.
F:She is talking about me, about my hands and about the way I move. Soon she is finishing as well, she unplugs the microphone and leaves the courtyard.
A: Filippa wrote this story from an experience she had while working at an elderly care centre - but I thought it was such a beautiful metaphor for a way to think about the building, the way we’d gotten to know it over the past few days - like a body. I tie it off without the script, trying to explain that way of thinking - the building as a body, so I talk about my body and filippa’s body comparing them to the way I understand the building now, until I trail off running out of things to say, I think I end by saying something about Filippa’s long fingers, and then I unplug the mic, and immediately wind all the cables up, cuz it feels like it could rain.