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This is the third edition of our Artist in Residence series, in which we give different creatives the possibility to work in our Vaudeville Theatre for a day. We ask them to hang around, create and share their vision, insights and stories about who they are and what they make. This time, the Theatre was given to Lisette Ros:
Welcome to The Loft, please introduce yourself.
Thanks, I immediately felt at home, my illusion home that is. My name is Lisette Ros and I call myself [at this moment] a critical performer, artist or conceptual designer, depending on the context, the situation and/or the conversation I am engaged in.
For about two years now, I have mostly been working on my on-going project called ‘INTERVENING SPACE’, in which I do interventions with myself in [daily] spaces in an attempt to question a certain convention. This is an open, visual research into spaces and human behaviour. With this concept and the deriving performances I tend to confront people with their own routine behaviour, our fixed system, our daily rhythm, the automatism, and that we are taking all of this for granted.
What materials do you usually work with and what did you bring today?
I am using myself as a tool to do my interventions and performances. Therefore, I am constantly researching and experimenting with my body and physical conditioning in regards to ‘INTERVENING SPACE’. Thus, I brought myself, wearing my remarkable grey suit and the accompanying look, my photographer and friend Marieke Gras to capture the process, and all the necessary technical equipment.
Especially for this performance, that derived from my existing work called ‘INTERVENING SPACE: Reframing conventions [Methodology]’, I continued with a renewed piece within the Loft.
Which artist or designer is a source of inspiration for you?
This is a hard question, lots … Though I find the way that Marina Abramovic, Ulay and Eckhart Tolle use Zen-Buddhistic behaviour and thoughts, or better said non-thoughts, within their work very interesting. That inspires me to prepare for and challenges me during my long duration performances.
The outcome of my research to the office space, the act of sitting and eight hour sitting performance for ‘INTERVENING SPACE: Reframing conventions’ is that ‘sitting is the new smoking’; sitting is killing us. And maybe smoking is even better than sitting down constantly as the activity that goes along with smoking, namely walking, requires us to move our bodies and disrupts our build-up sitting time more often. A necessity.
In continuation of this conclusion, I placed the ‘sitting is the new smoking’ principle [disrupting our build-up sitting time more often and thus change our sitting behaviour] in the meeting space of The Loft, and I researched the inter-architecture and our accompanying behaviour while literally doing. Simply said: I used my performance techniques of emphasising, isolation, repetition and over-exaggeration, and I sat on every spot in The Loft that was possible. Everything in The Loft points towards the act of sitting down; the large meeting table, the lounge area, the lunch area and the windowsills. I tried to look through that and created a continuous, physically active routing in which I sat on all the other spots left as well.
We are forced to sit down in these kinds of spaces, because the inter-architecture and our fixed, old behaviour tell us to. What if it would be the norm for us to have high standing furniture and spots to lean, lay, walk and bend? Then we definitely would sit a lot less. And what if it would be the norm for us to be in physical motion constantly? Then we wouldn’t be tired that quickly and neither be in a terrible physical state/conditioning constantly, and thus we would not be forced/pushed that easily to sit down.
If you could invent a name for an art movement you belong to, what would it be?
I don’t know actually, and I’m not sure if I want to “invent” [read: make up] another box… I want to disrupt the current codes and make myself constantly aware of that, so I am kind of finished, tired and annoyed by the box-society, box-behavior, and making up titles to put a stamp on it.
I find it difficult to say “I am this or I am that”, and I am consciously busy to play and vary with that aspect of myself. Of course I choose titles that are in line with my work and how I want to position myself, but hopefully the day will once arrive that it doesn’t matter anymore.
Daily, I tend to make this vision visible through my appearance; by combining everything I want to [subcultures, materials, traditionals, cultures, folklore etcetera]. I play with the liquidity of identity and the fact that appearance is manipulative.
What kind of work do you usually make and how was it different today?
With my work I am busy with the Mode of our society – what is happening now – societal issues, daily rhythm, conventions, automatism, and thus our fixed system. It is about the identity of our current society as opposed to my own identity. I use conventions and my performances as a research method to question this Mode. Thus, I ask questions by literally doing.
I also extended my research to the act of sitting and sitting design, because I wanted to experience what kind of emotion and/or what kind of person I became on any of the different regular sitting spots. What do I feel like on which spot? What does this say about my identity, the identity of the society and why? Questions I raise while doing this visual research.
What will you tell your friends about The Loft?
That I want a space like The Loft when I’m all grown up.
See more work by Lisette Ros at http://www.lisetteros.com/
Pictures by Marieke Gras, seemore of her work at http://www.mariekegras.com/