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
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
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
MHO is a Àconcept-place”, poised between art and technology.
Organization: Fondazione Mare Nostrum
SCREENSHOT 1, 2009.
Tatjana Macic performing in Second Life