Der Abstand 

A performance in three phases based on a poem that recites distances or intervals in life, between objects, thoughts, actions and feelings. Following a correspondence with four ladies I asked them to come up with their own notions of distances, what ever they could think of within the frame of the poem. They completed with a list of 88 sentences; e.g. the distance between me and you, the distance between a decision and its execution, the distance between sleeping and waking up or being woken up and waking up, the distance between Balzers and Venice etc. 

Phase I and II took the form of rehearsals and deliberations open to public climaxing in phase III, a constructed reading on the closing eve of the event, October 31st. The conclusion was a performance in two acts. Audio or this Audio (soundcloud link will open in new window)

Act I
All the women stand in the back of the space with their back to the audience, each at the end of a white line drawn on the floor, intertwining with four other lines, one for each woman. They sand still for a while until one, the tallest one, turns around, follows her line and stops at the end of it, facing the audience, she puts on her glasses and starts to read. She reads alone until another one does the same, walks her line until she faces the audience and starts reading. They read together in disharmony, the third joins them and then the forth, until they are all standing in a row, facing the audience, the smallest one last, the tallest one first. They read out loud, slowly with a strong mature voice that oddly does not match the apparently nervous shaking piece of paper they hold in their hands, citing distances between things, each reading separate sentences in disharmony. One by one they stop reading until there is only one left, the smallest one, reads alone the rest of her sentences. Then silence. 

Act II
The for woman stand in a row, still from act one, they stand in silence until swiftly they turn to each other. Two and two face each other and start reading in harmony like a choir. They read loud and clear with presto and confidence. They read until the text is finished. Then stand in silence until the audience reacts. 

The four ladies are Silvia Gstöhl, Berta Ritter, Nelly Stamm and Berta Brunhart from the village of Balzers in Liechtenstein. They were among the women that recited for the performance Erklärung in the Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum in Vaduz in eraly spring 2015. For this performance they travelled to Venice. 

The Silver Lining was a ten day long Collateral Event at the 2015 Venice Biennale organized by the Kunstverein Schichtwechsel and the Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum. More about the work here and here

Based on the poem Fünf Zentimeter from Sérstakur dagur – Besonderer Tag
Kristín Ómarsdóttir, M&M, 2000
Used with the authors permission 

Photo credit belongs to Jiří Hroník


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