The cello in my life

Knot Applicable [x 0.5] (Sophie and Vera, with guest Wilma Pistorius) at the OCCII, Amsterdam, December 2016.

A small crowd drinks at the bar. Gijs Borstlap djs. Scores for solo cello pieces (Morton Feldman and Rens Tienstra) are attached to black thread and suspended from the ceiling. Vera, Wilma and I start to play around.

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Then we invite the audience to join.

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I tie Vera in a chest harness –

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and Wilma plays Morton Feldman’s Projection I. Bow on string punctuates the silence, which is in turn broken by the frictive sound of jute against jute, jute against skin, jute against the ground.

Knot Applicable

We invite the audience to get involved. They cautiously pull, release, tighten, trying to test what is permitted, and what might constitute going too far. Our bodies and the space are offered as a means to ask these questions.

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Various answers are arrived at.

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Then we tie the audience and use the rope geometry for the remainder of our performance. Wilma plays more solo cello pieces, and I sing Morton Feldman’s Only.

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Vera does a tangled solo and the audiences assists, varying the tension of the ropes she is caught in.

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We experiment with double cello bows –

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and adorn Wilma and her cello with jute, as she finishes her last piece.

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As usual we spoke to the public afterwards. They described to us the feeling of having to make decisions within the framework we had provided for them; of being active agents, and having a responsibility towards the performance and our bodies. These moment of one’s subjectivity suddenly becoming relevant to a performance are like magic for us. It is exactly this state of presence we are seeking to evoke, and the relationship of mutually present subjectivities that we wish to cultivate. Our art (music; dance; rope) is not a means to do this – it’s rather the other way around. Not only our musical and physical performance but our subjectivity – and that of the participants – becomes the art work itself.



All photos Kasper Vogelzang.

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