EightOS @ Bundeskunsthalle | 08/2020

In the frame of the State of the Arts Exhibition (Gazebo (even if) installation by Isabel Lewis and Dirk Bell, curated by Miriam Barhoum and Johanna Adam), I hosted a series of events where we explored the notion of fluid interaction in public spaces in the context of pandemic restrictions.

The presentation took the shape of six 40-minute performative practice sessions happening in July and August 2020 in the exhibition space of Bonnkunsthalle (Bonn, Germany).

During these sessions, we explored the different strategies of being “in touch” when it is prohibited and how we can maintain a connection by establishing a shared physical language. This physical language derived from EightOS practice, which combines self-defense and dance elements, is transposed in the context of sanitary restrictions where protection of the self is enforced not through physical contact, but through distance. Exploring the change of distance and its fluidity, as well as the body flow, were the central elements of the sessions.

We also explored the relationship of a collective body to public space in the context of Coronavirus restrictions and security limitations imposed on the public exhibition space. Interestingly, the security people didn’t like us so much at first, because we were on the boundary of the rules, but then, once they recognized some familiar elements from self-defense practices they grew to be curious and involved in the sessions. While their task was to enforce the restrictions, we integrated them as active protagonists that were shaping the openings and the closings in the space as we explored it through movement. It was also an opportunity to share the first session with kids, who were really keen and participative.

Read more about these sessions on the EightOS website.