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Anais Heraud: A letter/interview by Petros Konnaris

Market place in Eerikinkatu str

Anais Heraud: A letter/interview by Petros Konnaris

30th of October 2015

Dear Anais,

I am writing this letter to you as a response to our interview in New Performance Turku Festival. We were discussing quite many topics: rhythm, collaborations, activism, duration, children, structure, submarines, previous performances, workshops and teaching interests. Looking back, I decided to focus on our discussion on gender, the collective “dealing with normative gaze in performance art” and your performances’ reconstruction. I believe these topics will give an interesting flavour to people about your performances and working methodology.
This is my recollection of that Friday morning on the 2nd of October!

I asked you how you use the concept of gender in your performances. You said gender is not something you think about during the performance but something you feel in daily life, before and after a performance and when explaining yourself to others. As you said, during your performances, you try to be completely into the actions, like a child who focuses on what she is doing not caring about how she looks. You mentioned that the issue of gender is present when building your performance language, interacting with the way people are identifying and relating to you.

In 2013, Katie Lee Dunbar and you initiated the collective “dealing with normative gaze in performance art”, a group of female-identified performance artists based in Berlin. You introduced me to the collective’s work, which is to converse about the gaze that female-identified artists are experiencing and projecting in their work. Additionally, you explore how this gaze affects your performance and aesthetics by sharing experiences and experimenting on ideas in a safe space.

I was also curious about the process of the performance’s reconstruction, knowing it is something you perform quite often. You said the materials and actions remain the same; you work with them in the performance space, adapting to and focusing on the materials, the space and the setting as well. During the performance “Compulsion-Attaque” in Finland, Bolivia, New York and France you researched on the history, the city and the society and how people relate to certain materials and issues like activism and demonstration. Even though you re-perform a piece, it is not a “copy-paste” process, you said. You feel it is important to be aware of the space and people in relation to you, the materials and the actions. You said that the performances are very personal and have a strong cultural individual perspective to you. Therefore, if one would ever re-construct your performance, it is crucial to re-enact the process of it in order to find the “right” materials and actions for the piece.

During your workshops, you ask the participating young women where they see themselves in five years, which I also used as my last question to you. You said, you are interested in continuing to perform in the performance art scene, which as you described is another durational performance. Additionally, you wish to work more with community, collaborate with other artists, learn, experience and paint a bit more.

Thank you for the very interesting conversation and the coffee! I am looking forward to our next encounter!

Petros Konnaris

Petros Konnaris photo

Petros Konnaris