Performative practices in different formats at Östersund bus station and the artist’s home in Sweden from spring to autumn in 2020
Public Art Agency Sweden's initiative LOKALA KONSTPROJEKT: Organized by IntraGalactic arts collective
>Östersund bus station, 11 February 2020 / Participant: Malin Ståhl
>Daily practice of blindfolded drawing on soft-horizontal surfaces for an hour duration / 13 April - 19 September 2020
>Östersund bus station, 16:05-17:05, 26 September 2020 / KONSTENS VECKA / Photo: Anita Wernström
>Östersund bus station, 14:00-14:30, 17 October 2020 / MITT BUSSTORG / Photo: Sara Norling
This is a suggestion to reconsider the process of disorientation as a methodology to imagine another way of being and associating with people and places. It facilitates getting lost in our familiar places by losing our sense of direction, with a simple blindfold, either in public space or even at home. During the process, we get attuned to being in a place following sound, scent, texture, and temperature. By feeling the space in relation to the side of our body or the degree of familiarity, we become aware of the intentionality of our consciousness and the basis of orientations in the places, as well as in society.
In addition, the process grants us the opportunity to be different, unfamiliar, and unexpected, being relieved from performing “normal”, acting like someone else. It allows us to break rules of distance, unfollow existing lines, and across territories. We also acknowledge the majority of angles in the spaces we live in through touching surfaces and objects. Roland Barthe indicated in How to Live Together that rectangular shapes can be interpreted as the preeminent sign of civilization and the basic shape of power. The horizontal surface is generally intended for writing, as Sarah Armed pointed out in Queer Phenomenology, which can be recognized in the culturally oriented objects where the knowledge mostly comes from, such as a writing table and paper. These objects historically belong to privileged people and spaces—the room of one's own. Accordingly, we can pose a question: Can we redirect our energy and attention to find new paths and produce an alternative system and knowledge as resistance towards authority, for example, by bringing subversions of the rectangle in public spaces or working on the soft-horizontal surface, like on sofa or bed?
When we remove the blindfold, we might be able to encounter the world differently and to perceive openness to the future. It might take a while to fully adapt to the change in light, to reorient ourselves, but we at least “try” to walk in the light with our heads held high—in our own way.
‘Lokala konstprojekt’ is a part of the Public Art Agency Sweden’s ‘Knowledge hub public art’ which is a government assignment to inspire and strengthen the development of public art in all of Sweden. Within this framework, IntraGalactic arts collective, an artist-run initiative that was aware of the commission, invited an artist research group consisting of artists Malin Ståhl, Hiroko Tsuchimoto, and Anita Wernström. During the years of 2019 and 2020, they have worked collectively with performance as a process and setting up a research process with the coach travel center and service in the county of Jämtland-Härjedalen.