THE CENTRES OF THE WORLD / ENJOY YOURSELF
1999, to be continued. Performance. C-Prints
This project consist of number of short performances in which the artist stands on his head for around minute at random sites. The title refers to ancient ideas about the structure of the world: when standing on his head, the artist is actually holding up the planet. The human head is the centre of the world. The situation is generated by the unfamiliar socials context, a new environment which has to be adapted to. To understand it you have to change yourself, to adapt yourself to the new social conditions. The performances are a metaphor for a virtual overturn happening in your mind. The project is presented as a photo documentation. This is a work in process. The project is continued in every country artist visits. There are about 400 photos produced at the moment (In Holland, Poland, Belarus, Finland, Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, India etc.).
What about people’s reactions?
Wherever there is a people’s movement, without a doubt a reaction occurs. Standing on one’s head is not a very provocative action, and that’s why the reaction is not very strong, but if you were to strip yourself naked, then you would be confronted with the appropriate reaction. Sometimes I provoke my photographer more then the person in the street. Because my photographers are many different people: artist, curators, people who know me well, as well as those who barely know my; I have noticed that they are more nervous than I. They feel sillier than I, even though I am the one performing the action. I used to calm them by telling them that if our project meets a stream of accusations, they will be directed only at me. So you just take it easy and take my picture. To a certain extent, my choice of locations depended on this. A few times we used illegal locations, for example, a museum in Amsterdam in which all photography was strictly forbidden. My friend was photographing me. We walked around where there weren’t any guards. We walked around and ended up using half a role of film. Here the risk factor came into play. Sometimes we received responses: although the reactions vary: the bigger the city, the lesser the reaction, because everyone is busy. On their way somewhere they might just glance at you… One time a passer-by intentionally pushed me. I get all kinds. Ultimately though you don’t even notice because when you’re standing on your head you have to concentrate on the action itself. I first find myself a place I like for whatever reason and I decide that his is where I have to do this. This is one more point I need to emphasise. This project of mine developed during travel to several countries. You go because of some exhibit, you bring your works with you, and when a part of the time you spend exhibiting them, the rest of the time you spend walking around the city, museums, cafes, you meet someone. In essence you begin to feel like a tourist. I began thinking that I could use that free time differently. I can do something. The results is this project.