East-West Performance Art – Portale Internazionale d’arte Huma3

1st published by Huma3.com in 2009

East-West Performance art
As a founding member of Bbeyond (www.bbeyondperformance.org) Brian Patterson juggles his profile from art to organizing art events. This time he got a helping hand from Boris Nieslony who built up a large network between the artists from the Orient and Europe.

Nieslony and Setiadi -  Photo by Kasia Pagel

Nieslony and Setiadi – Photo by Kasia PagelNieslony and Setiadi – Photo by Kasia Pagel

The 16 participants came from Mexico, Singapore, Burma, Indonesia, Japan, Germany and Ireland, most had experience of living in the West. Their capacity to tease out salient points of either similarities or differences did not guarantee the impact of their art. A rather valuable point was made by a passer by who asked Patterson what was going on:” this is OK, otherwise we would not have talked to each other…” When art increases the ability of strangers to connect in ethical benevolent way no other rationale for supporting it is needed.

Elvira Santamaria Torres and Alex Conway fused process, installation and street intervention thus gaining attention of a large number of passers by, and of the afternoon shoppers attracted by the strange apparitions. Larger audience rewarded also the integration of spoken word and instrumental music by James King and Caroline Murphy. In comparison, the performances inside the dedicated spaces like Platform or a disused police station benefited from better control of space and suffered from shrinking audiences.

Htein Lin -  Photo by Kasia Pagel

Htein Lin – Photo by Kasia Pagel

Performance art tolerates different names, i.e. Live Art, Action Art etc. It also tolerates any fashionable theory going. Three works energised a theoretical position, that of a desire to persevere, and that of will to enhance one’s power to act. Boedi Setiadi submitted his undressed body over the sill of each of the open window in the room, a success due to his exceptional fitness. He also appeared in a duet with Boris Nieslony (www.asa.de) who presented another edition of Nature-Study:Debil-Decibel. In an austere separation the two artists metamorphosed into the afflicted personalities. Htein Lin (www.hteinlin.com) has powerfully narrated through visual and tactile means the struggle of the monks against the Burmese oppressors. Nieslony and Htein Lin combine matter and mind in an analogy to how nature itself works. Their combinatory power is quite exceptional leading me to think of their art as anthropological, even if it is anthropocentric and anthropomorphic first. By this I mean, that they place the art not outside nature but under laws of nature. Their striving to persevere in being a debil or a Burmese monk, is in essence Spinoza’s thesis on freedom as being free to produce ‘ some effect’ if that effect is a the effect of ‘my striving alone’. An increase in the power with which a mind strives is good. (see Ethics, part III 11 and 39)

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