project image
Jakob Johannsen

first performed on May 14, 2019
Public Space, Festival Internacional de Teatro y Artes de Calle de Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
performed twice in 2019


Helsinki, Finland


In Calle Ferrari I undress my shoes and trousers and leave them by side on the floor. In tights and skirt I step in a bucket filled with plaster powder while someone pours water. An orchid is immersed upside-down in the bucket of plaster, drowning the flowers. I slip out of the tights which stay stuck in the plaster as it dries. The festival has asked me to limit the performance area with security tape and so I do. With the help of the audience I create an installation across the street with nylon treads that go through both of my ears and have to be licked by me to allow my horizontal movement. I cut my t-shirt and imprint my chest on a roll of white paper, cutting and hanging on the nylon thread each print with the help of the audience. I release myself from the tread, dress backwards in the cut t-shirt and clean my hands on it. I put down the installation treads and collect all materials. The performance is over.

This performance does not seek to illustrate a theme; I mean that my performance does not want to serve text. It wants to act alone, to generate an experience. Text is hegemonic and it has been placed above other forms of expression and communication, above the corporal. For me, having to explain / describe a performance beforehand, is to distrust the potential of art (please excuse my stubbornness, my resistance).

I think people already know many things, many terrible things. I as an artist do not embrace the role of “information facilitator” or “awareness raiser.” Let’s say that I work based on things or events that are somehow known (as we speak, in this particular case, of femicides) but that knowing is narrowed down to text (data, lists, events) that afterwards can be easily pushed to the rational side, forgotten and numbed.

Generating experience has other possibilities for memory and affects. The performance is free once it starts, it flows according to the energies between performer and audience. Then my motivation can become experience. The public is afraid of art, afraid of not understanding, but it is my challenge that they will sense what it is about, they will feel, interpret, and give meaning to it in different ways because it is art, but I as artist control the direction.