I do question myself a lot, but today I was asked some questions by others.
I went to a 30 min performance by Ioana Păun, The others. I didn’t have any expectations and almost didn’t go as I had to be somewhere else afterwards and it was a bit of a close call.
I am glad I went though as it was a very nice experience, one that left me with some questions, and that went like this:
I entered in a dark room with a flashlight so I can find my place to sit 3 m from the performer (I had to chose beforehand the distance from 1 to 5 m).
The performer asked for me to pick the color of her tears and my brain just blurted “blue” and I thought “No! Not blue! That is so boring”, but then she started crying. It looked to me like a slow motion film of someone crying as I could see how her face was slowly changing as tears were filling her eyes …her eyes, I couldn’t see her eyes from 3 m. They were just two dark wholes on her face, glisening from time to time with tears. I looked into her eyes, though I am pretty sure she couldn’t see mine. I was thinking about how to communicate to her without words that it is ok to cry, that it is safe to cry with me. It is something I am exploring for the past year: the ability to stay with strong emotions, mine or of other people, without reacting, just staying with these emotions, letting them be.
It reinforced that 3 m is a safe distance. Would I have been closer I am sure I would have been more influenced emotionally. Were I to have seen this two days ago, I would have cried for sure, if not when she cried, then when she said why she cried: because she was thinking about something that made her angry. She said she didn’t know how to manage her anger, and my mind just went like: “It’s ok to be angry. You do not need to manage anger, you need to make friends with it and hear what it has to tell you.” However, I related so much with the “I just feel like crying or screaming.” since I was there only two days ago.
Finally she asked if I felt anything while she cried. I nodded.
Then a guy layed down saying : “I’m in pain, can’t you see that I’m bleeding?” He had some red threads hanging from the back of the pants like a narrow train. He got up moaning and limping, and asked me to follow him as he took me to another location which was about 5 minutes away, but we walked through the crowded street and he got some weird looks from the people who noticed the threads. When he got out from the first location, he all of a sudden started moving fast, switching to limping and moaning and back to moving with fluidity, and my thoughts went from “Moving kinda fast for a person in pain” to “Oh, I can do that, my back also hurts today.” It didn’t hurt bad enough for me to limp and I make a point of walking as usual even if in pain so not to stress the other side, but this time it wasn’t so bad, not even after the dance class. However, my abdominal muscles hurt now, because I used them to compensate as much as possible what my back wasn’t allowing me to do. Anyway, it’s the abdominal muscles I’m supposed to use more, so it was a good excuse to practice this.
Back, to the performance, on the second location, I also had to stand 3 m from the performer, who was someone I knew. The first performer seemed familiar as in I though I might have seen her in a performance before, but this one I actually knew as in we talked and danced together. There was a screen with some sort of stats on it. After we looked at each other for some time, she said that the intimacy between us is 2.7 and that the distance is too long. So, I guess 2.7 intimacy is my conformt zone. Good to know.
Then she took on step to the side and closer to me. I took one step to the side. Then she faced me and we took steps towards each other simultaneously. Hah! A dance exercise! I wanted to smile, but also wanted to keep the moment solemn.
We stopped at about a meter.
I took another step towards her. She didn’t. She took a step back, so I did too.
Then she took another step to the side and closer to me. I did the same.
She said: “You have sad eyes, did you know?” I nodded and smiled. It is what I think every time I see a photo of my mother from when she was younger. I have her eyes. So does my brother. We actually have our grandmother’s eyes, my mother’s mother eyes. I am really fond of those eyes, particularly because we all have them.
We continued to smile at each other more and more broadly, and finally we hugged.
She gave me a graph of our intimacy levels throughout our interaction, and a booklet to complete the experience.
We thanked each other and I left.
I had a feeling of peace, very pleasant and warm. It lasted until I went out of the parking lot of the second location to go back to the first place, so I would recuperate my bike. The feeling vanished because I looked at the phone and inevitably looked at the notifications, of which one made me laugh and go back to whatever I was feeling before this performance.
However, I am left wondering if it would have went differently if I didn’t know the performer at all. It’s not that I am close to Alexandra, but she is not a stranger.
I was thinking about the experience with Alina Ușurelu, last October, but she wasn’t truly a stranger either, having had an experience of interaction in a performance before with her.
I am also in a different state of mind than usually when viewing a performance, particularly if it is interactive. I have a curiosity that I do not display in day to day situations, even though this curiosity may be there. That is something I could also exercise. Having this state of mind more often, being curious rather than drawing conclusions and making assumptions. I’m so good at this last part, it is no longe challanging. Curiosity, now that’s a challenge, particularly because I would have to care about who or what I am curious about.
And I do not care often, but when I do …oh,boy! 😅