Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Being Red, performance, Bozica Radjenovic. Photos courtesy Svetlana Swinimer
The futility and danger of natural strivings
My impressions of Bozica Radjenovic’s performance Being Red at the RIA Artist Project Room, April 13, 2013
By Sherry Tompalski
The performer is clad in a shapeless woolen dress with her face completely covered, her vision restricted, her voice mute, with her hands gloved and her sense of touch diminished ... only her legs appear unfettered.
Paradoxically, she is in a bright red outfit cleverly underlining the conflict; the desire to be seen and the fear of being seen.
And so the performance begins. The performer safely hidden behind a mask with a reduced ability to navigate, but with legs unhindered starts to move. Is she motivated to leave something negative and/or move towards something positive? Or is she merely ... meandering?
Whatever initial meanings her attempts to move forward have, they result in her dress unraveling. She is coming undone, becoming vulnerable and possibly unsafe. Nonetheless, she continues to move forward, and slowly, cautiously she follows a circular path, ending up exactly where she began, albeit in a progressively more exposed condition. If she continues, she will be completely uncovered, and yet still in the same place. How dangerous and slightly ridiculous her efforts have been. Trying to make things better, to move forward, has a high price.
Alas the futility of ones' natural strivings! Better to remain stuck where one is, paralyzed, inactive but safe.
Furthermore, it seems the blood-red thread to her past is what is causing the unraveling. This thread, while without form and rather delicate, is not only unhelpful to her, but also seems to entangle and complicate life for those she comes into contact with. At moments shining and radiant, it is overall confining, binding, and restrictive.
A neighbor walks past but looks away, not really interested in the resulting entaglement of wool weaving around the trees and audience creating areas of confinement.
Perhaps it is all a metaphor for how the performer experiences her past. How she tries to hold it all in and still go forward, perhaps not really knowing what to do with it. And yet, somehow mysteriously her past materializes, tenuously sabotaging her efforts and the efforts of those around her to be fully realized.
This thought-provoking performance leaves me with the following questions: How does one become free from one's history? Does one's history have to encumber others?
Sherry Tompalski is an artist, psychiatrist, and Reiki master. Tompalski herself appears at the RIA Artist Project Room with Paintings from the Global Voices Project, 2008–2012 and catalog launch, Saturday, May 11, 2013, by invitation only.