Waiting Room. Performance Installation. Flutgraben e.V. Space/Time Berlin. 2016
w/ Surround sound speaker system and separate wireless headphone system
Waiting Room is an intervention into the theatre and ritual of performance itself. The public arrives expecting to see a performance only to realize that the performance is actually they, themselves. It is an impossible, possibly imagined loved story. Placed in an immersive social and sound installation for over one hour, the audience experiences an intense state of presence and relationality where the very act of being, observing, and projecting meaning onto external signs, embodies the piece itself.
They are invited to the experiment without any information on what will transpire; all details are kept a secret. In the aftermath of the Berlin premiere, I asked one of the audience if she would mind sharing her impressions in writing:
“The performance has a mirror effect, you sit down, with the rest of the audience, in the chair that is there just for you. The encounter with all these unknown people in this unknown place, an extremely evocative and suggestive soundtrack that shifts between low sounds, words and phrases, evocative sound landscapes and silence. The sound immersed me in different inner places and at the same time changed the outside landscape of the performance, making it available for imagination, open to interpretation, even transforming reality because the eyes that look and the body that feels is affected and on a sound journey. There was space for me as an audience to observe the outside from a different place than usual, inspired and guided by the soundtrack which possessed a non-rational harmony, moving between inner and outer space. Time is questioned in the Waiting Room, observing how you get into the situation of ‘waiting’ sitting on a chair, it gives you the opportunity to see yourself in action. What are the expectations, how you react when the performers begin to move and the reality of the scene starts to change in a way that you cannot expect, or at least I didn’t. It was a sweet silent surprise. An intelligent and intimate invitation to reflect about social behavior, our own relationship to reality and external inputs, the masks we decide to wear depending on how reality is appearing to us, the consideration and experience of time and space. How time changes depending on where you are, not physically, but with your mind, body and spirit. You don’t know what you wait for, and at the end it doesn’t even matter because what is there, it’s enough, so you can relate to ‘what is’ and dive into this experience. Or not? Space is also being questioned, the physical space and also the inner space. Where are you? Sitting down on a chair with a lot of other strangers, but you are also on that day where your father took you to the sea for the first time, at that café where he told you about his love, on that day where you watched for the first time the images of September 11, or how beautiful it was the first time you saw a flower opening for the spring.
It was a real experiment, made with care and attention, a non shy proposal that led you wherever you wanted to go. An opportunity to look in and out and at the same time a shifted reality that guides you into unexpected places, while the only thing you know for sure is that you ‘wait’. Reality constantly bending, space dimensions transformed without being noticed, time of waiting needing to be reconsidered and experienced in new ways. It teaches me a lot about us, as humans, as social creatures. It teaches me about how we name things and want to narrow them into definitions and concepts. It reminds you again about the wildness of it and the truth of the non-defined reality, the constant change and range of possibilities and our own decision making. How we create our own reality, how we react to reality, and what it would mean to act instead of reacting?”
-written by Maria Sanchez Alonso (audience member), 2016 Berlin
Concept, direction, and sound design: Grace Euna Kim
Technical support: Andrea Parolin, Michele Piazzi
Photo documentation: Julio Alcántara
Performers: Karina Suarez Bosche, Danilo Andres Sepulveda Cofre, Lan Hungh, Tarren Johnson, Sandra Julve, Irene Pascual, Nana Senderovitz, Sabina Celeste, Yan Gi Cheng, Paula Montecinos, Dyaa Naim, Alyona Sokhan