"What is the topology of breath? What is the ontology of breath?" the description at LEA10, Transit't: Your breath was shed, asks us. Those are heady questions, and curator Mimesis Monday (storyteller Heidi Dahlsveen in real life) invited visual artist Giovanna Cerise, performance artist SaveMe Oh, and blogger Fjara (Jordan Giant) to contribute toward an exploration and understanding. The installation is the first in a series under the Transit't name (each to last about a month at LEA10)—Breath will be followed by a consideration of Silence by Selavy Oh, and finally Personality by Alpha Auer, along with the involvement of other artists to be announced. A culminating exhibition will take place in real life at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Norway. "Breath was difficult," Mimesis told me, "difficult to relate to art expressions except for dance and poetry." (There will be additional events scheduled, including storytelling.)
The land at LEA10 is divided into a series of high-walled spaces that guide us on a linear path. The first room, to which I was drawn the most strongly, was by Mimesis, who contributed a couple areas to the installation: here, a series of about 40 closely spaced enormous translucent prims, each of which bears a rapidly moving texture of words. (In the top image here (click to zoom in) the words are caught in time for a moment.) Venturing through the largely empty second space—a performance venue about which I'll say more below—we enter a second room by Mimesis, and here we also encounter Fjara's contribution: she was asked to decorate a boat, located in the air above the far corner. It rests on a handwritten letter and is filled with books and candles. "I wanted to create a contrast to Giovanna's more conceptual art," says Mimesis, "a place to actually breathe when you read a story or write a letter."
Giovanna's works are four in number: Suffocation, Energy, The Game of Life, and Delirium. "Man enters the game of life through the first breath," she writes. "This is always connected intrinsically to the emotional word. The breath of life allows us to live, and, when it is held, our emotions are imprisoned too." I have taken to liking Giovanna's works in general, especially her large-scale installations, but had a more difficult time warming to these (including the second and third images)—and I'm not convinced that the high white and orange walls are the best supporting environment.
SaveMe Oh's contribution to this inquiry was for me the high point (two lowest images). On March 9, she presented Wear to Move, documented by Fuschia Nightfire in this video. (Also see an earlier video by SaveMe of the piece here.) In a series of vignettes or movements, the attendees (the audience) were asked to strip their usual clothes (changing rooms were available) and wear attachments (the artwork) and animations. Around this entire group of performers/audience, now essentially wearing the artwork (or, more to the point, they were the artwork) and moving in common gesture, was rezzed an environment. Experientially, SaveMe eliminated the distinction between performer, audience and artwork: they become all one and the same, and the event was insightful, playful and skillfully executed. Mimesis's storytelling (schedule to be announced) will employ a similar method: "I will try to make interactive storytelling, in the sense that the participants will attach the story to them while I'm telling it, something similar to SaveMe's performance." Your breath was shed will be on display at LEA10 through the end of March.