P E R P E T U A L R E P E T I T I O N S / / E V E L I N K A S K
An interview with Third Space.
The space is closed, an aquarium-kind of setting.
Inside the space solitude takes place between the artist and physical matters other than human. The object(s) are detached and alien from the space they are brought to and which they don’t originally belong to.
Energy is a common property to all of them. The amount of energy in the Universe is finite, thus it cannot be created or destroyed. It takes different forms, and becomes a transformative flow between objects.
In the course of 18 hours of performance, repetitive and contemplative actions take place. Time becomes tangible. It is a lonely contemplation, an unpredictable spatial experiment where the artistic process itself is the core of the work.
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THIRD SPACE: Through 18 hours of performance you were immersed in a solitary journey surrounded only by the inanimate. What type of thoughts occupied your mind during this process? What can we learn from the idea of contemplation inside solitude?
EVELIN: For me, solitariness is a kind of resistance. “When I am among the many I live as the many do, and I do not think as I really think; after a time it always seems as though they want to banish me from myself and rob me of my soul – and I grow angry with everybody and fear everybody. I then require the desert, so as to grow good again”. Nietzsche wrote this. It’s beautiful and poignant note.
When trapped into an empty space with a bunch of banal objects, one has nothing but the self. On the contrary, the everyday world is full of noise and distractions. Noise provides an escape from the self, and from some of our basic but not always so pleasant human emotions such as frustration, loneliness, tiredness and anxiety.
Regarding Perpetual Repetitions, my personal thoughts are not relevant for the audience, instead what is relevant, I think, is to understand the concept of solitariness, and what it means in the context of the complex system such as our society is.
T.S: You call your work a “performative installation”. How did the transition of the piece from action to object made you feel? - One of the main focuses of this piece was artistic process. Where in the timeline of your work, did your work transform and acquired a new shape or gesture? Where relies the “end result”?
E: By performative installation I’m alluding to the artistic practice where the “process” is the work of art, and evolves gradually through the artist’s active participation. The process of the formation of an installation, the physical and bodily realities, and the pure human expression are in the principal focus. It’s more about improvisation, the inherent motivation and random occurrences, guided by artist’s intentionality, than any predetermined plan.
The end result, then, is rather irrelevant, since there is none really. You may consider the final installation – the “leftovers” of the 18h process – as the end result, but it is nothing more than one more stage in the whole process, if you know what I mean.
It’s an interesting question, when did the transition from action to object actually happen. I can’t point any specific event. Was there even any? What I’m saying is that the dualism between these two states does not necessarily exist. At the end of the second period of 9 hours of performance, and especially the next day when I arrived to the gallery to view the installation properly, I was surprised how it turned out. I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I first started out. It turned out solid and coherent, everything made sense. So maybe that was the moment when it stopped being in an “active state”, somehow under action, and transferred into object.
T.S: How did your relationship with each object trigger different emotions? How did you express them? You have any examples?
E: In his texts about sculpture, Herbert Read talks about the flow of energy that passes through all materials and objects. It shifts and takes different forms. Action is then the energy or impulse, which I take upon the objects when I move them around, or simply observe the space and the objects through touch, sight and hearing. The relationship with the objects was foremost physical and bodily. All physical sensations grew somewhat significant in isolation without other human contact.
T.S: A methodic, meditative and at the same time repetitive type of action and gesture took place during your performance. What is for you, the meaning of repetition?
E: Repetition, for me, has mainly a socio-political context, alluding to a thoroughly politicized, restricted and controlled body in capitalist society. Repetition, then, is something that occurs in systems, where the body is constructed, managed and controlled by the dominant power. It manifests itself in the form of daily practices and routines.
Yet, when repetition is acted out in the context of arts, such as repeating the gesture of picking 180 photocopies from the wall one by one, or walking and repeating the same circle-shaped route, it can bring us closer to consciousness about the body-related discursive practices.
T.S: Time and the way we perform inside it, was an important theme inside your work. How did you perceive it differently?
E: In isolation, the awareness towards passing of time increases. It was interesting to think how the exact same minute manifests itself in different ways depending on who you ask. Our realities, the so-called internal “micro-worlds”, are different from one another, and we can’t never fully understand how the other person experiences the same time and the same place. It’s a sad thought, isn’t it? If you go to a very fundamental level, we are all alone in the end, right?
T.S: What is the aftermath of this project? How did it change the way you perceive your own practice?
E: In my artistic practice, here, I embrace the unknown. In the beginning it is impossible to say what will it be in the end. I find it extremely liberating and fascinating to create a work of art which is the “process”, meaning, doing and actions can be defined as an actual work of art instead of having a deliverable end-product, objet d’art. Not that there’s anything wrong with this type of working. I’ve just lately become more interested in the concept of temporality in artistic practice.
Repetition is another interesting thing with which I will be working in the future, too. There’s actually a cross-disciplinary art project I’m working on right now together with another artist, a choreographer. We plunge into the concepts of post-capitalism, post-psychoanalysis, body and repetition.
Evelin Kask (b.1989) is an Estonian-born visual artist who lives and works between Paris and Helsinki. She’s interested in various layers of knowledge; how it is achieved, constructed and maintained inside a complex system. Her manifests are often released through temporal and spatial site-specific works in which she uses different mediums and materials such as photography, video, sound, performance and sculpture.