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ABJECT PERFORMING BODY, VIRTUAL PALM TREES AND MENTAL PICTURES

By Tatjana Macic
Published in: HTV de IJsberg, #81, Leftovers- The Manifold (after)life of performance, 2009.


Starting point of my performance was to make an avatar: I was asked by Second Life to define myself as male or female. What a trivial question! I just wanted to be, without re-entering the symbolic and political order of the father. However, this option was not available, and “the girl next door” was already set as a default avatar for females, so I accepted it. My avatar-name Tatjana was of course filled in by myself, while the surname Galaxy was proposed by Second Life software. While constructing my avatar or performing body using three-dimensional modelling tool, I tried to stay true to my real-life physical appearance. Yet vanity played a role in this process, so I could not resist modifying certain things about myself. For example, I made my breasts appear smaller.

Once my avatar was finished, I could walk, sit or fly - as my performing body relentlessly followed every movement of my computer mouse. More importantly, I could see “myself” perform on the screen. In this way, I was aware of my Àperforming body” but was detached from it at the same time - the performing body was situated somewhere in between the reality and the fiction or virtuality. From then on I had two bodies at my disposal: my virtual performing body and my psychical body. In compliance with Kristeva's abject-theory: my performing body became abject. I was detached from my physical body and linked to my - abjected - virtual - performing body. I found myself to be in a constant limbo between abjection and re-connection to and from these two bodies. My performing body walked around in Mercury Poetry Shuttle landscape, encountering the sea, the sky, sand and palm trees. I felt calm, even sea breeze going through my virtual hair. Soon I found scattered futuristic objects that I could “touch”. When “touched” some objects reveiled poetry. Some objects had pragmatic usage: I could sit on them. The other objects were apparently just lying there for the sheer aesthetic pleasure.

Using a virtual gate that transports you to the other locations in Second Life, I teleported my performing body to another futuristic sub-environment, finding in it control panels and orbs. Me and my performing body gazed at the orbs. The orbs gazed back at me and my performing self. Then more than ever, I realised that this is how an image/screen in Lacanian sense comes to life. Using audio headset and controls of Graphic User Interface I performed my poem Armen benen. Armen benen is important to me because it is the second poem I wrote in Dutch, that I am satisfied with. Maybe because Dutch is not my mother tongue, writing poetry in Dutch has an aura that I cannot fully grasp or resist. Performing Armen benen virtually - seemingly without the audience - is a liberating and daunting experience.

If the audience finishes the artwork, as Marcel Duchamp proposes - then how does a performance without an audience become complete? Am I the performer, the curator and the audience at the same time? Except for the temporary exhibition in Venice and several computer screen shots I made during the performance, there is a little material evidence left after performing. Besides, I have my mental, poetic archive in which I have stored and indexed my own memory of my performing body, experience of the performance and rather vague mental pictures I shot during the performance with my inner eye. And there is of course my avatar, my abject virtual performing body that is left to float somewhere in the digital universe, performing without the audience.


ARMEN BENEN Performance

Tatjana Macic's Armen Benen performance at 53rd Venice Biennale Eventi Collaterali

Virtual Mercury Poetry Shuttle Landing on Second Life, curator Caterina Davinio
Tatjana Macic is performing her poem 'Armen benen' in Second Life

From June 5 to November 22 Video installation Save the Poetry
From September 2 to November 22 Installation Mercury House One
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm
Free entrance
MHO is a Àconcept-place”, poised between art and technology.
Organization: Fondazione Mare Nostrum

armen benen

SCREENSHOT 1, 2009.
Tatjana Macic performing in Second Life

  trouve 

SCREENSHOT 2, 2009.
Tatjana Macic performing in Second Life

Digital print



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