one to one performance: 8 hours
Solo performance; Rathausgalerie Projektraum; Munich, Germany. 2007
Visitors, invited to enter the space one at a time, were given this direction:
"The performance begins when you close your eyes. The performance ends when you open your eyes, or when you hear my bell."
While the visitor’s eyes are closed, I move – without a sound – around the space, and gradually as close to them as possible without touching. Sometimes I laid the warmth of my hands over various parts of their bodies; some times I affected the quality of the silence they were experiencing by touching the air around their ears; other times I leaned in close enough to catch the scent of their skin (and for my scent to be picked up).
Some participants, who were more sensitive, were able to sense my proximity and location very precisely:
One man’s ear visibly pricked up as just I began to move my hand towards it.
A woman followed my silent movements around the room, turning her head as though she were watching me.
A man scratched his nose each time I moved my hand over it.
A bald man’s scalp twitched under the warmth of my hand wherever I placed it.
One woman opened her eyes in shock, as my hand – still a good six inches away – approached her forehead. She said, “I was frightened! I felt something hot coming towards me,” Then added, with some regret, “I suppose its over now that I’ve opened my eyes...”
There were some who did not give any sign that they sensed my presence, but refused to open their eyes even after I had tinkled my bell (they were not asleep – simply did not want to leave, they said). And there were others who got nervous or bored, and very soon opened their eyes for a swift escape.
A Spanish tourist (as I gathered from his guide book), keeping his eyes tightly shut, abated his curiosity by making snapshots of the unseen performance with his digital camera. With a big grin, he kept the camera pointed – as far as he could tell – in my direction, so he could see later what I had been up to.
photos by: Lynn Lu