THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF WEEPING

In the beginning, there was the weeping

 

Mădălina Dan is this year’s CNDB associated artist and her curatorial program “Amprenta (Fingerprint)” is in full swing, pre- and post-Biennale. Together with the Polish artist Agata Siniarska, she has created a weeping-performance, Mothers Of Steel, which envisions a feminist future in which emotions are absent. The mothers of steel live in a universe in which the affect is purely a convention and from this position they scrutinize universal and personal history. The show is a reversed road trip in which not only physical distance is covered (namely the two artists’ native countries, Romania and Poland), but also time. The performance is made up of several distinct episodes: the personal history of each human being (from the first cry to the last gasp), recent history seen through the lens of emotions stirred up by social, political, cultural or sports events, the way we are manipulated through emotions (how we are induced feelings), the management of betraying or not emotions in public and a crash course on weeping commentary on universal history.     

            The choreography of weeping places a high demand on the two performers, both vocally, and conceptually, because it becomes a tool for narration. Crying in each and every way possible, Mădălina Dan and Agata Siniarska shape universal history (with an ironical twist, aided by several paper sheets clipped on a wire) and reveal its cycling nature. So crystal clear is history understood, with its modular structure and neatly summed up concepts and directions which come up repeatedly in different context, that it could easily be included in history textbooks.    

            The performance revolves around identity (the dominant issue of contemporary dance), which is looked upon from different perspectives: national, political, feminine. The two visible-on-screen futuristic avatars of the performers grimly envision a mechanical future in which managing relations with history, be it that of the world at large or simply personal, is condoned exclusively without feeling.

            In short, in Mothers Of Steel, two humanoid robots recreate world history out of emotions. And what emotion is more appropriate for such a task than weeping?

 

Review by Oana Stoica. You can read the full article here.

Photo: Alina Uşurelu