Maud Gyssels: one clap two collapse

‘Aeroponic’ – root systems nourished by air – Acts is the name given to the nomadic Dutch Art Institute’s final Kitchen presentations. Each participant addresses one question, as a practice of engagement.

Here you will find the documentation of Maud Gyssels's presentation as filmed by Baha Görkem Yalım. The written report is by Hubert Gromny and it includes a summary of the comments by esteemed guest respondents.

one clap two collapse

Maud's question: can we hold what is holding us? 

Maud's introduction: feet moonwalking on the floor to rewind waves

see the rippling water of the lake

and the music don’t feel like it did

when we felt it with you

guess that all is

one clap

two collapse

the sounds that embrace us sound like

loose teeth in the palm of my hand

mute drops after the battle of speech

one snap

two collapse

and hold

Hubert's report: In the space there are few microphones distributed lying on the floor, they are all connected to the mixer next to which Maud is sitting. The audience chose freely their seats and ways of being in the space. Around each microphone there is one or more performers. Performers engage in a variety of ways of making sounds through clapping, crawling, dragging microphones and rubbing them against each other's bodies. Especially clapping with hands and stumping with bare feets against the floor are prominent elements, which builds a sonic piece. These rhythmic sounds are accompanied by hums, spoken word and fragments of songs uttered by performers, looped and mixed by Maud in order to create a life sonic piece. The effects of delay and reverb are used extensively. During the presentations most of the participating performers held and played with pieces of clay, which they distributed among the audience as well.

Phanuel Antwi began his response with a reflection on clay as an archive, and noted that this material holds multiplicity of different ways of archiving. The institutional archives often become tombstones—an unmovable testimony of the past, while the archive could be thought of as a river, as constantly changing and flowing. Phanuel evoked a notion of ‘tidalectis’ from poetic work of Kamau Braithwaite as a figure of the motion, which is not linear or dialectical, but is an invitation to think about the archive and history as something that is never fully graspable, as a wave. To think of a clay as an archive resonates with this conception, as in clay, even after being fired, qualities of organicity and plasticity continue to prevail over the fixity and stiffness.

Momtaza Mehri connected her comment with Phanuel’s invocation of Kamau Braithwaite and moved to point out the relationship between clay and the notion of ‘techne’. Techne refers to skills and crafts of making—clay seems to invoke the origins of technology. Playing with clay has a childlike, innocent character of an imaginative creation and building and as such it is an interesting figure to think of earliest technologies as means to create something new. Momtaza commented on the distribution of bodies and microphones in the space as a modality of organization of speech and rhythms, which had a gravitational and vocal focus. It was especially visible in the moment of rubbing a microphone against the body of the other, which transformed the sonic device into a detector of the vibrations present in the body. The presence of water as something incorporated and holding the body was an important part of the performance.

Chiara Figone resonated with Momtaza’s comment on water and pointed out that water is an element needed for the transformation of clay, while clay as a material has a quality to purify water. As a technology clay was used to contain water and the human body is a container for water as well. Chiara shared her interest in thinking through water on ways of inhabiting different forms of life and embracing change. Usage of sound emphasized the rhythmic and tidal character of water movement.


Maud Gyssels's "one clap two collapse" was presented before live audience at the Centrale Fies, Dro, Italy on July 12th.

Find the overview of all 24 AEROPONIC ACTS 2022 here: tuttə (le) rottə - all (the) ways: unfixed

About Maud Gyssels