Mona Oren, Ellis Hutch, and Helen Michaelsen

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v.o.i.d project #01 (2010)

Dreamt up as voluntary, ongoing, internal, displacement or v.o.i.d, the dictionary definition of the word void refers to emptiness, space, the cancellation of something and of emptying out. But what does it mean to approach the void, to enter it, to embrace it, to make it?

Void and as such the v.o.i.d project #01 becomes a space of possibilities. Stepping into the void, into the unknown, decisions are made to push personal boundaries and to step outside familiar comfort zones. Exposed to a vast external space, layers of internal spaces unfold with directions, both new and previously explored.

 

The chosen site, Mae Kuang Dam (เขื่อนแม่กวง), is a manmade environment evoking to be pristine. The 3 performance locations at the dam – an irrigation canal, a hillside wall reinforced with concrete, and a maintenance road on top of the dam – initially intrigue and challenge us. Then they intuitively guide us in mapping out our performances in response and as continuous interaction to those spaces and their dominant site-specific elements of water, height (air), and ground (earth). As a result they are temporarily transformed into v.o.i.d spaces each with a quiet, steady pulse following their own rhythm.

Fluid, vertical, horizontal, rough, rugged, uneven surfaces that initially resist demand endurance and reward us with powerful force once embraced in the process. Through our mental and physical interaction with the site, we, the performers, become the interface accessing “our” spaces. As a way of becoming at home we are engaging mentally, emotionally, and physically with our individual bodies in continuous movement. Not only do we situate ourselves in the space but form a contingent connection to the space, embodying the v.o.i.d.

What might seem to be ordinary actions, lifting and letting go, moving through pre-determined forms, and writing, traversing a surface back and forwards, are in fact highly charged, personalized actions visible in moments of tension, instability, imperfection  and translated into temporary yet continuous movements. A flower garland grows until it disappears into the distance, Tai Chi forms flow over the rough uneven surface of a little used road in a vast landscape, the transcription of a dictionary definition becomes a physically grueling process.

The essence of the v.o.i.d project#01 yet remains what does it mean to act, to act out or to perform a series of actions with actions being deliberate and of individual significance, relevance, and urgency?

* Text by Helen Michaelsen, March 2010
* Photos by the v.o.i.d team

 

>v.o.i.d project #2 (2011)