“My best ‘trick’” with balloons is inflating two in my mouth at once. On a good day, I can inflate as many as five (if they’re all lined up just right)“

Capturing a day of work in the life of an artist and the effort that goes into it might seem at times to be a daunting task. What better way to do it though than by giving each breath body and allowing it to take its place in the world?
The hours are regular ones: 10:00 to 18:00, with a designated mid-day break (does an artist have health insurance? a pension plan?).

The assigned place: Museumplein.

Date: September 1st, 2016

Part of: ‘IAmsterdact’

‘I amsterdact’ contained documentation of artistic interventions in which public space is used as a medium and a trigger for action. These interventions intend to de-neutralize the relations of citizens, interrupt the everyday and advocate for a new use of public space.

Made alongside: Daniela Medina Poch, Juan David Galindo and Mariël Smit.

Defining public space as a free access space where the individual interacts with the city (and where the materialization of social agreements takes place), each artist advocates to interrupt the normalized public space behavior through an ephemeral, immediate and physical interaction.

Some of the interventions become statements which attempt to visualize dualities, a play between collectivity and individuality, private and public, but also past and present. Besides these, there are the tension between citizenship and institutions, pleasure and productivity and multicultural identities that inhabit public space.

Each action exist in double form. First as a live process, then as a reflection, an aftermath, brought back into the gallery space. This is a private arena which allows the documentation to interact as a collection of works that together serve as windows towards several aspects and conditions of the city of Amsterdam. Stories of the place, but also ruptures, become opportunities to reflect on what it means to navigate the everyday.

Displayed at Home of Art, Amsterdam.

Photos: Andreea Peterfi

A review of the piece, written by Cristina Buta, has been published on ArtNarratives.

Excerpts from the interview:

“Blowing balloons in public spaces isn’t necessarily a statement against the institution, it’s more about trying to figure out my relation with the institution and also trusting it. I am not an anarchist, not in that sense. I don’t want to abolish the institution. I want to understand how institutions function, how they function in relation to me, how do they trigger and shape me but I try to not identify them as bad by default.”

“I recently ran across a quote which Jan Verwoert tried to frame in one of his lectures. He mentioned that (paraphrasing) “artists are damned, but carefully public” in the sense that they cannot help doing what they do. I thought, at the time, that each artistic action, seen through this lens, becomes more endearing. There is the need to speak, to scream, to be shown, to be there. But that’s not my attitude. I don’t necessarily want to be public. I am more of an observer. I am interested in questioning how artists do what they do and what does it mean “to be an artist” and how are you shaped by different elements from institutional frameworks to your own personal background.”

“I think as an artist you are also just doing your job like everyone else in a way, even if you don’t have proper funding for it, or the space, all these elements that would justify your intervention in a public space. You just do something because you are driven to do it. And again, sometimes it is pointless. Most of the time it’s pointless, and that’s ok. In this case, the public aspect of the work was very important for me and this is something I am interested in.”

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