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Wind in den Füßen [Wind in the feet], 2022, video performance, 11:28 min, HAUNT|Frontviews, Berlin

A video on the strength of friendship between two artists and friends.

Conversation on the piece with Guus Vreeburg of DE RUIT, Rotterdam:

“Each of us is our own ‘I’, each with its own personality. But in a friendship you are together, you become ‘we’, ‘us’: a new, third entity. To what extent can you merge, dissolve into each other – without losing your individual personality? We’ve had long conversations about that. Where are the boundaries, the boundaries between ‘I’ and ‘you’, the differences between you and me, and to what extent can you share that? We asked each other those questions about aspects of friendship on a private level, but also as artists, the professionals that we are.”

“We are two people who care about each other, and she is one of my very best friends. But no: we are not a couple, our friendship is not romantic in nature. We each have our own household, our own friends. In a friendship you stimulate each other, but you also offer a counterbalance; a matter of pulling and pushing, of guiding and being guided. How intimate and close can friendship become, and how much distance do you want to keep? Is it possible to translate your most personal, private, subjective experiences to others? That’s what we talked about.”

“How could we raise that to the outside world, make it clear? Where we both have extensive experience as performance artists, and we therefore work with our bodies as visual material/medium, we decided to show those questions through a performance, with our bodies. That was quite scary: while our friendship is not erotic in nature, we could not escape all kinds of physical aspects in that performance, very intimate. I love her body – where would that lead us?”

“It is the first time that we as artists work so closely together, making one thing together. What is my contribution to this, what is hers? Where can I give her space, where can she give me? Could I always take the space I needed? Will I get enough space from her? How far can I distance myself, how much distance do I need. What do I want to show, reveal, and how much do I want to keep to myself? We had to discover that by doing, try again and again. In this way, that performance has become, as it were, an experiment in practice of what we talked about in our conversations.”

“Of course you can keep such a performance on top of a factory roof to yourself, but we also wanted to show what kept us so busy. And so make it into a video. Of course we had our own smartphone cameras, but you can’t show everything with that. So we needed a videographer – Max Hilsamer.”

“Whereas until then, that performance was only about the two of us, played between the two of us, he now came in third. The same issues played, but now towards him; me and he, she and he, and the two of us and he. How far did we dare ourselves, both of us together, to open up to him; what did we not dare, how she dared and I did not; what did we not want? how much space did we leave him, how much space did we allow him, how much space did he take himself; what was too intimate, too private to share with him and with his camera, and through him with you – a viewer we only know as a distant friend? In a sense, they all become part of that performance about friendship and its boundaries and to what extent those boundaries are rigid or could dissolve.”

“This project originated as autobiographical: it’s about the two of us, and about the friendship between the two of us. Very private, very intimate. Acknowledging the notion that it is not a question of ‘me alone / only me / me alone’, but also ‘I need the other’. You cannot do without thinking in terms of commonality.”

‘And therein lies the greater scope of this project as far as we are concerned. This is not only about the two of us, but also, in general, about the ‘ungesellige Geselligkeit’, as Kant called it. On the one hand we are “society”-pey, and at the same time we glorify individualism. In addition, ‘friendship’ is already a politically charged issue, said the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. And Hannah Arendt also spoke about the complicated relationship between the community, with its totalitarian features, on the one hand, and the individual, and his freedom, on the other. The last Dokumenta showed a “way of neo-liberalism”, a “way towards the common, towards together”. Our project is not so much a plea for this, but rather an acknowledgment that it can only be done that way: balancing on a balance between ‘I’ and ‘we together’. This applies not only on the scale of two individuals, but also between groups of people, and even between countries and states.”

“As far as we are concerned, therein lies the relevance of our project. Search for equilibrium, balance. Between me and the others; between private, intimate and public, public; between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, between ‘I’ and ‘we’ and ‘you’ and ‘them’.”

“At the very end of the video, one of us says: “The wind has arrived in my feet, yet.” Physically that is of course not possible – wind in your feet; it is a way of speaking. Then: “Now! Now, we are flying!” In that moment we have the balance, we balanced: “Yes!”