Friday, July 17, 2015

1999,2000,MOBIUS, BOSTON, "Individualism contra collectivism"



I created this piece in collaboration with David Franklin, another member of the Mobius Artists Group. I transferred my experience living in both collectivist and individualistic societies into this piece. The collective, Socialist society of Czechoslovakia, where I was born and lived for the first thirty years of my life, was based on a horizontal system of communication and socializing between members of the society. Since government controlled all the media, people themselves ensured the flow of true information by "mouth and hand" channels. The information was spread horizontally among people, not via the media that were placed "above " them. One physical copy of an underground, illegal publication was read using this system by hundreds and hundreds of people. This system was very effective because the life-long, permanent members of the society were also close neighbors who knew each other well. I entered the United States after obtaining political asylum for my political activities against the Czechoslovakian Socialist government. I found American society to be made up of atomized individuals communicating via different forms of media. Communication is not carried from "mouth to hand" but through remote media channels. One issue of a particular publication targets just one niche of the society. Communication is oriented vertically by a system made up of individual information droplets. In this performance I wanted to transform these differences into geometrical forms that would accompany different actions, texts and stories. All components (sound, texts, stories, lighting, movements) of the parts of the piece were based either on vertical or horizontal composition and the tensions between them. In one of the pieces David and I attempt to communicate with each other. Together, we play a dominant-position game with an eight-foot stick connecting our mouths. A stick entering each participant's mouth distorts the articulation of language. In this performance, there is always one person lying horizontally on the ground and the other standing in a dominant position. In this way the stick makes a 45-degree angle. When the situation is reversed the geometry of dominance still persists. Communication between the participants is always based on the principle of dominance. In the other piece I work with vertically- and horizontally-situated elastic bungee cords. The horizontal cord represents mutual social bondage (cooperation, collectivism) and the vertical one atomization of the individual (competition, individualism) The Z-axis in this 3-dimensional plot reflects the social force generated by the intersection of the horizontal and vertical coordinates. I tell a story of homeless people and a private doctor offering a free one time medical service. I present my face at each moment of the story in a particular position in this three-dimensional matrix represented by bungee cords I want to create a concept of real life where extremes of any sort can produce tension and pain.

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