A performance is maybe the only art-form that emerges directly from the dimension of passing time. Probably this is the source of a performance’s potential: it is made out of burnt moments and whatever remains belongs solely to memory. Like a sculptor who chisels a sculpture with clay, the performer chisels an interpretation with passing time-moments.
What happens when we observe a performance?
Experimentation in quantum mechanics proved that observer and observed are linked into a quantum dependency, where the observer is visually perturbing, influencing and defining the state of the observed system. By taking a look at the etymology of the Greek passive verb meaning ‘to be projected’, (‘προ-βάλλομαι’ in Greek), one finds out that it is a synthesis of the prefix προ- and the verb ‘βάλλομαι’, literally meaning to be hit, affected, perturbed, influenced, attacked. This verb, confirming the quantum mechanics observer’s paradox, implies that being observed means receiving the energy by an observer, almost in the shape of an attack.
Already the concept of theatre reveals this visual-observing dependency between performer and spectator. Jacques Lacarrière in his book “The Greek Summer” noticed that the word theatre comes from the verb “theomai”, meaning to see and to be seen and that it cannot be by chance that the ancient theater architecture, “expressed even by the soil and the stones”, resembles the image of an Eye.
The spectator’s gaze can be considered to integrate a basic mechanism with which we are equipped in order to navigate in life, shape our understanding of the world in a meaningful way, exert the notion of identity.
Therefore, what happens when we observe, or when we are observed and how the pure observation of a performing body may become self-reflection on a stranger’s art? And, what lies behind our capacity to create icons out of images?