The text below was written 2008 some two weeks after the Perf08 festival, organised by Tehdas Ry.
I leaned on all the male guests of the Perf08 festival but the women carried me. I wanted to leave the festival guests physical impression of myself. This gesture provoked the audience and placed the male spectators in the focus. The piece lasted for two days. Day one was for leaning and day two for a indoor performance. The piece was also an attempt to pinpoint the moment where a performance takes place.
The piece was called “Artist Supported by Other Artist (and some Audience)” (Or “Supported” for short). Each leaning act involved two participants. I introduced myself to small groups and selected a person to lean on while instructing an other person to take a picture. The picture was to be taken “on the specific moment the cameraman felt that the act was completed”. This motivated the participants to look for a solution to end my interference. The person I was leaning on needed to use strength to support me and the photographer was was agonised by their ambitions to take “a good picture” of the act.
The pictures where taken with a fully automated retro-film-camera which only had a hole to look trough and a trigger to take the shot. There was no possibility to confirm if a picture was actually taken. In retrospect I think the camera should have been an professional model with a 6×6 frame. So that the importance of the picture would have been emphasised.
I also had the opportunity present the work as a part of the schedule. I worked in the attic. First I chased all the persons with cameras out of the room. With this I wanted to make a statement on the documentation of performance art works. In such events the act of documenting takes focus away from the uniqueness of the moment. Then I chased all the male participants out. This was done in a humorous way so that the opportunity to stay even if a male remained (none did).
I was left with the women in to an attic. I asked them if they felt comfortable with this sex based division and if any of them would like to excuse them self´s (none did). Then I asked if there was a skilled photographer present. One presented herself. I instructed her to document the act. I laid on a bench and asked if the women would raise me to the ceiling. I was lifted and pictures where taken. The women lowered me and gave them self´s spontaneous applauds. The mood was joyful.
I asked them not to tell the men what we had done. Then we returned to the rest of the group.
A girl with a camera (who was chased out in the beginning) told me that after the men were chased out they started acting oddly. The courtyard of the gallery was suddenly packed with bewilders men, boyfriends, husbands who where trying to solve the situation. I asked another girl, if she had been questioned on what happened in the attic. She told me that her boyfriend, (a producer of the event) had not done so.. Because “he is too proud”.
The men kept on asking me what had happened. They tried to be humorous about it. More then once the men stated that, as I made this devision based on gender: I am the generator of a chauvinistic processes. The women where not (to my understanding) feeling offended by the gender based separatism.
The separation of the audience based on gender was an experiment based on a friends encounters in cuban-religions. He had taken part in a ritual during which a man (in a state of trance) took the women (including his girlfriend) from the crowds to a nearby jungle. So that they would take part in a ritual. He and all the other spouses where left outside.. The only opportunity was to wait. This division created great tensions in the men. I wanted to see how this process would work in another cultural surrounding.