I am and I see the world. I woke up early this morning. And I thought: what a wonderful day.. I wanted to say to the world what I think about this what is surrounding me. So I looked at the I and I looked at me. I smiled stupid and I said I don’t know what to think about it. I don’t know I don’t know what to think about it..

(Le petit poetry of the moment by moi)

My question is: what is personal in art? What makes my art personal?

Is that by putting „I” in every possible place that I can emphasize that it is My point of view?

Is that by walking on the stage as „myself” playing my own vision of what I think I am, fronting the audience, saying „This is me” and „This what I want to say” face to face, eye to eye, exactly how we are used to in our social life? The FACE. Isn’t that the face of the performer takes the most of our attention? That we want to read from the face what kind of person he or she is, what does she or  he think?

Personality as identity

What would be my first understanding of personal? Coming out from the personality, person. Person as identity, how one is creating his autonomy towards the others. The process of creating identity is happening by mirroring the other. How much I am similar and how different from the other? And in the same time by creating one’s own image of himself. This process is based on making constant selection of information, putting labels on everything what perceived: „this is me”, „this is not me”, „this I like”, „this I don’t like”. Trying to understand more what my art is about, what are my inspirations, I see myself very often, cutting the attention for the thing which „I don’t like”, because I think that it’s not my aesthetic, that is too kitschy, to representative etc. But the reflection of the thing itself stops very early on the level „this is not for me”. Making too fast selections makes maybe my own interest more specific, but my world is getting smaller and smaller.

My question here would be then: is it by making strong choices of what is me, that I make my art more personal? Is it by creating clear borders of myself that I know who I am? It is interesting as an artist to look more closely at who I think I am and what I think I think, is influenced by outside conditions. There are some conditions which are not chosen, but they are important part of the way I perceive the world, the way I position myself towards the world, the way I think I am and I think the world is. So I was born in Poland, I was brought up as catholic, I am a women and I look as a women etc. I look at the world through certain lenses which are changing through my reflection, experience and change of my life conditions. The fact that I don’t live in Poland anymore let me see from the distance what are kind of general „Polish rules” which were and still are taken as my own: the rules which are directing my focus, which I am often not aware of, there are  taken as implicit rules. The values I am carrying are the echo of the values proposed by my family, proposed by the Polish catholic church. The images I see are the images taken from books, art, nature, television, cinema etc. crazy mix from which artists are paying a lot of attention towards cinema and television, because of its obvious manipulative power, which needs to be questioned.

Bringing this concept to art work can be interesting in the sense that one by focusing on himself and looking how his thinking is structured is trying to understand what kind of structures are existing in the society. How the outside rules are influencing the individual. So in the sense how macro and microworld can be seen as one by having the same structure. One can mirror the society rules. This kind of artistic work would be for me understood as work with the certain topic, which one is finding interesting/difficult/problematic for himself. Focus goes into the problem, into the personal/social trauma. The trauma which is caused by the static stability of the structure.

Personal and emotions

Love you, love love loooove. I sing my song, I dance my dance. The song of love, the dance of love, straight from my soul, oooo ieeee straight from my soul.. Je t aime mon cheri, mon cheri je t aime. tu connais que c est moi qui toi aime oooooo ieeee qui toi aime, je t aime je t aime.. beaucoup

(Le petit song by moi, un moment of inspiration dans le train from Paris to Amsterdam)

Love, hate, anger, sadness and fear. Emotions are often proposed as fluid opostion to the static rationality. Emotions can go out of control of ones mind.

We say that love is blind, one led by emotions cannot see clearly.

So in this sense reacting to the world through emotions, making art through emotions can be seen as more personal. What one feels is what only one can understand. It is a unique reaction towards himself and outside reality.

Emotion as opposition to rational. Motion contra static thought, thought conclusion. Emotion fast reaction to the world. Thought, thinking it is taking distance from emotion, taking distance from first personal reaction, it is ability to look at the subject from many different perspectives, ability to change the way we perceive the world.

What is the place of emotions at my work?

Anger and explosion. I am very emotional. My emotions are huge. I often think that emotions take me away from my work, because I cannot see clearly. I often imagine myself as being very cool, non-emotional, very precise. It needs discipline, not always works good: I put/loose the whole attention towards cooling down my emotion, there is no space for seeing what is happening. I cannot breath when I dance because of coming emotions. I burn my energy out in first few minutes of performing.

Going out of emotions I see as important step in the artistic development. I see it as freeing once mind to see more clear, to see differently.

Problems lies in the suggestion that emotion is faster then thinking, that emotional reaction is more „real” and more „honest” and more „personal”. But we can think fast and emotion can be also seen as something what stops as from reacting, stops as from doing, what closes as in emotional bubble. My emotional overload makes impossible the communication between me and the others. There is too much happening I could put into words. My communication system is getting destroyed.

My emotions are exploding when the world of my expectations is disturbed, when my inner world cannot fit into outside world, when I feel/think that the gap between me and the others is too big that I could even communicate it.

But what is this I want to fit in? And why?

Emotions, I really don’t know what to think about it.

Person and the other

Sometimes I see different persons in myself. In the way I walk, funny gestures, movement of my head. I can hear myself saying what somebody else said, the tone of voice becomes like my mother’s, I say jokes the way my brother does, and I make faces like the old friend of mine I didn’t even liked so much. I am trying to throw them away in the fear of loosing myself..

(From the diary of Anna, 1929 created to give sense of melancholy or.. )

The change of the perspective comes with the change of the conditions. Human ability is to fit into new conditions of living. Our flexibility can be quite big especially if it is connected with something what is important to us, when it is about surviving, getting job, fighting for higher standards of living (important for many people). But there are also borders we like to keep if there is not a special need to break them.

I met groups of Polish people working in Ireland, who were very flexible in adjusting to new life situation, getting new skills important at new work, but in the same time keeping closely there identity as Polish, which is different then Irish, which means better and smarter then Irish of course.

I see how perception of myself and what I see is changed by changing the movement of my body. I work on my movement, I try to be precise, I work on the technique (movement given from outside, or direction given from outside, something not mine), I move more or less on the territory I know, making small steps further, and suddenly I make it a bit bigger, a bit further I could consider as myself, I cross the fear of reaching my hand further that I could imagine I was able to reach. I am taking more space that I thought I could take as a modest Polish brought up as catholic girl. I am becoming a new person only because of the movement of the hand. I am becoming a new person everytime I am breaking my usual body organization.

There is somewhere coded that movement brings huge amount of emotions, there is somewhere coded that emotions brings tension in my body which doesn’t let me breath. I can agree that this my body organization, that in a sense this is me, and I can change it.

Probably what is important is that each development needs steps. I often forget it, I use to skip the informations about my actual state wishing to get very fast somewhere else.

It is difficult to fill the pot which is already full..

(I remember it now from the movie „Avatar” but I have an impression that I read it before somewhere else..)

Process of learning as a process of forgetting, making space, cleaning.

I see the freedom for myself in stopping to focus so much on myself. And I don’t say it is easy. I open magazine „Elle” to look at photos with clothes, gadgets, shoes, small bags, detail of clamp, button and finishing of the collar around the neck. In the same time I can read WHO is good to be this year and how WHO should look like and behave.

Pop culture give us opportunity to live more then our live. We get enough informations to identify with the stars. In their conversations people give the same importance to love problems of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as to their own. They live their own life and the life of their favourite actors. I listen to the conversation of girls in the metro in Warsaw. They talk with pseudopsychological jargon, they give each other advices copied from tv series and women magazines, they talk about themselves being stronger, more assertive, better and more confident and more bla bla bla.. about who they are.

When I am performing I think that I am the point of attention. But why person on the stage should be more important then for example an object? I find it an important artistic choice. Do I put a person on the stage as a person who says something to other persons who are sitting and listening. Do I bring to the theatre space copy of common social relation between person and person? How can I go out of this pattern?

What if I as a maker and performer, I do not focus on who I am, what if I do not try to understand or explain anything, if I don’t go into interpretation of what is happening, but I give the priority to what I see? And  if this what I see is the meeting of my imagination and reality of actual space and time.

The important issue in my work would be now how to give so much priority to the thing itself that limitations of myself won’t be a problem.

Person and a language

Human being is nothing more then marks he lives on the snow..

(Kiju Maozo or the „my try out of the oriental wisdom”)

I proposed the understanding of person as identity. But there could be many interpretations of that word. One I would like to talk about now is person as a subject, one who speaks, and its relation to the language.

The 20th century philosophy is giving different answers to the question of what the subject is by describing the relation between the experience of the subject and the language. In the phenomenology of Husserl language is understood as a tool that subject uses to express its opinion about reality, but it doesn’t influence the constitution of the subject. The subject is created before starting to speak. Its creation is based on the pure experience. Subject is cutting its relation to the experienced world to come back with his opinion formulated in the language. Coming back with the opinion means that subject takes its position towards the reality.

Different relation between subject and language is given by Hegel. According to him subject can not be seen as a constitution, it is not possible to say that the subject „is” but that the subject „is becoming” in the moment of crossing the border of experience. This crossing of the border is happening through the language and reflection. What is real for the subject is what is done by the subject. Subject cannot exist beyond the language. There is no reality before discourse, everything what exists for the subject has a meaning.

This theory was developed by the psychoanalysis. But with addition that the life of the subject is not limited to the rational (consciousness) but it also contains what is beyond (unconsciousness).

It was psychoanalysis which discovered that what is not available for the rational part of the mind has also its own structure (discours), its own language which can be interpreted. The sphere of desires can not be unfolded differently then by translation: reading signs, symptoms, symbols. This translation is necessary for the subject to develop and to get aware of its unconscious part.

Main disease punctuated by Freud was about conflict between the speech of consciousness and unconsciousness. Interpretation is happenning in the intersubjective relation between doctor and patient, where patient is learning to reflect upon his/her experience. Reflecting upon the experience is I think one of the very important practice in art. Bringing the unconscious, subjective, individual messages on the stage available for the others.

The interpretation of the experience is happening through the language. But also the language is influencing the way we experience the world. The world how we see it is only our interpretation of what we see.

Being a person, being a subject as being one who speaks..

It is exiting to think that trough change of the language our being (I am going away from using the word personality, where personality is understood as concept which stuck in its structure and being is open and fluid) can be constantly trasformed.

In this context I see my work as going away from using the structure of communication where one is saying something to the other using the form (language) which can be easily understood (the form which is explicit). I see it as a travel towards poetry, where the form of speaking is more important then the meaning of it, or where the meaning is the way of speaking.. It really doesn’t matter so much Who is it Who is speaking. I don’t have to put my and the audience attention there. And it doesn’t mean that this kind of work is becoming less individual. I would say that it will become much more specific but not because of  the one who is speaking but because of the specifity of the speech.

I see my work as celebration of the thing itself, celebration of the detail, celebration of the journey instead of fixation of interpretation of what one could think he is.

It is my manifesto of freedom: I don’t want my performance to be a meeting between one who is in cage of his personality and the others who are bringing their personal cages.

Performance is a happening where one can see.. and both sides of this happening (performer and the audience) are following the travel of the eye. The travel which is always challenged, which never stops. There is no time to stop to fall into the trap of interpretation (undrstood as looking for the meaning).

My manifsto of freedom: to free the eye!

I close my eyes, I follow my senses, I discover my imagination, my brain is working as crazy, I feel free. I open my eyes, everything is getting freezed. I see only what I saw before, world is getting stuck in the perception of the eye.

How to make it free?

How to move the heavy performer from the central point of attention?

How to question more the habbit of the eye to hang on something what is easily recognizable, the habbit of stopping somewhere where we can easily put meanings brought from our social life?

„Personal is political” is a title of the essay written in sixisties by Carol Hanisch.

In the context I work wright now, in the world where everybody is trying so much to become somebody I see that the concept of personality has to be questioned. Political is not enymore to be personal but to go beyond personality.. leaving behind some traces on the snow.

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