Ines Marita Schärer: "Or can you see them?"

| tag: Athens

Ines' 20 minute presentation for CONSTANT CRAVING ~ PERFORMING UNDER CONDITIONS - DAI's 3 day graduation lectures marathon, June 2018 was entitled

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As the performance starts, Ines Marita Schärer moves outside of the room, walks towards a corner of the garden where she stands still in the sun. We can see her partly through the window. Her eyes are closed, she stands for a while and then leaves from our view. As she moves out of our sight, our eyes wander over the framed scene she leaves us with: a small court yard, behind it apartment buildings and we see a woman busily moving on a small upstairs balcony, she is cleaning, unaware that there is a distant room full of people looking at her. 

After a short silence, we hear a disembodied voice speaking, “a voice speaks to the audience”, out of view Ines is narrating a scene, a space: its walls, the way the sunlight falls into it and the shadows it makes, growing and decreasing. She narrates a new scene, “the scene changes to an empty room” and introduces, voice, a first person protagonist who states; “In fact, the space is not empty. All the objects are painted white, so you cannot see them. I painted them all white.” With another scene change, a third person protagonist, a woman, enters a room and picks up a book, starts reading and speaks, repeating: “this object does not exist”, followed by “until the moment of utterance”.

Another scene change and again, a woman picks up a book, but now she speaks: “I pick up the book, I open it randomly on any page, but the pages are blank. Now I remember, the single words have already been read out loud, they are spread all throughout the room. They are no longer in the book and have left white pages”. This narration continues, moving from one empty room to another, triggering many questions concerning language, objects and phenomenology. 

The voice stops speaking, leaving the audience lingering for a moment, when Ines steps back into the frame and after, into the room, silently.

Maria Lind
Maria Lind started by saying that the presentation triggered many questions, which she very much appreciated. Although often the question seems to be what is art, or more commonly these days where is art, this performance seemed to ask the question; what does art do? It started out solipsistic, with Ines describing the space where she was, not unlike Robert Morris’ work A Box and A Sound of Its Own Making. As an audience member, this evoked an active looking, to the scene in reality as it were. Gradually, this set in a meditative mood as an audience member, and created the possibility to enter their own space, which she took away from the performance as one thing that art actually does.

Rachel O’Reilly
Rachel O’Reilly started by saying that the performance strongly reminded her of the work by post language poet Barrett Watten who has written about the impact of deconstruction and Marxist thinking on first person poetry. He is asking questions surrounding the politics of the first tense and what it means to be writing in first tense in relation to time and space. Ines’ use of words like ‘empty’, ‘blank’, ‘something’, evacuated of meaning, made her think of the questionable history in conceptual art to embrace the possibility to do away with meaning. Maria Lind interjects by asking what the difference would have been if we had read this performance, or if we had seen Ines during the performance.

Bassam El Baroni
Bassam El Baroni was reminded by the performance of an essay by Louis Althusser “Painter of the Abstract” on the painter Leonardo Cremonini where he made the distinction between an abstract expressionism and the abstract, the first being the one Cremonini’s work was often confused. With the idea of the abstract, Althusser describes the invisible forces between the figures in this artist’s work. These invisible forces, abstract notions that even science struggles with, are what Ines is also trying the evoke, within a literary or poetic trajectory. The emphasis in this work was very much on the words, and it could have been expanded more powerfully on with an image based aspect.