Eli Witteman: ⅓

‘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 Eli Witteman'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. 




Eli's question: Are you (also) standing in line?

Eli's introduction: Hey, I made you a mixtape […] 'Cause I've been waiting for a minute, waiting for an hour, now it's getting long. (FKA Twigs, ride the dragon, 2022)

Hubert's report: The presentation takes place in the dark room with a stage. The audience is encouraged to sit on the stage illuminated with few warm soft spotlights. In one of places marked by the light Morena Buser, Lucas Lugarinho Braga and Orestes Giannoulis form a small circle, they pile and cut fruits wearing headphones connected to walkmans. In another spotlight Eli is sitting alone also preparing fruits and listening to a mixtape. At one point Eli takes off the headphones and begins the narrative starting from September 2020. Eli recalls the experience of standing in the line with sixty other people. This experience is connected to the beginning of the pandemic, and the enhanced consciousness of distance between bodies. The spoken narrative continues listing other examples of waiting in the line---such as waiting to enter the club and experience the dance floor. The monologue is a personal reflection on the outbreak of pandemic and experiences of waiting which it caused. After Eli’s narrative reaches its end the song “Licking An Orchid” by Yves Tumor (ft. James K) is being played while Morena, Lucas and Orestes hand in cups with strawberries, biscuits and cream to the audience.

Momtaza Mehri spoke about how the work was an attempt to grasp a moment when the pandemic began and more specifically on how it changed our perception and understanding of time. Pandemic triggered hypersensitivity and awareness of time regarding daily schedules and routines but also hypersensitivity and awareness of space—how people rub against each other in spaces of public transport, queues. Both of these aspects have a lot to do with waiting and its theorization. In that context the gesture of peeling and preparing fruits seemed to be a way of passing time, as preparation of food is a durational process. It also added a dimension of longing to Eli’s monologue creating a sense of togetherness with other participants, who shared this activity. Momtaza appreciated that in the narrative composed of various moments of waiting, the dancefloor was articulated as a space of potential danger, misunderstanding and misinterpretation, which was unexpected but refreshing taking consideration the overpresent rendering of the dancefloor as an entirely liberatory space.

Ana Teixeira Pinto referring to the act of waiting in the line reflected on the social hierarchies which are at play in such situations. She also noted that they are related with gendered dimension and invoke Elisabeth Freeman’s notion of chrononormativity. This notion allows to describe time not only as something to be measured by also as normativity creating different structures of affect. These structures having a punitive relationships to minorities and marginalized people create different temporalities and different injustices. Referring to Avery Gordon’s ghostly matters Ana proposed to be more attentive how certain notions of temporality take greater toll on some groups of people.

Chiara Figone commented on the specific effect pandemic had for public discourse which seemed to create similar conditions on a global scale. She pointed out that this conviction does not take into consideration how class, gender among other factors, had a very different impact on communities affected by the pandemic. Waiting In the line is a good example how different such mundane experience can be, as for some waiting in the line for the club was altered by the pandemic for others waiting in the line was related with receiving food, material supplies and other basic goods allowing to sustain oneself in a precarious situation.

Centrale Fies - vignet


Eli Witteman's "⅓" was presented before live audience at the Centrale Fies, Dro, Italy on July 14th.

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