Still there, more or less, or not

Tonight, we want to share an idea with you.
And this idea, it might not be perfect, factually…
But it’s based on a true story.

As performed at HAU2 at Let Them Eat Cake, 2023. Photo by Ludwig Wandinger.

M: Hi, I know I haven't written to you in a while. But I've been planning to talk about you with strangers, for a change. It's been over a year since you left, and your loss has given me many new experiences. So, maybe, it's time to share some of it. In my own way; anyway. Take care.

In ‘Still there, more or less, or not’ Martins Kohout invited us to a performative ceremony engaging with the continued presence of those we grieve. It followed argon gas particles travelling from lungs to lungs across time and space, and it shaped the spontaneous co-organising of the gathering’s participants in space. It drew on the experiences of a new reality surfacing after an unexpected passing of a loved one, as well as on their new forms of presence. Inspired by the Belgian philosopher Vinciane Despret's book Our Grateful Dead, the question of how to maintain closeness, with those no longer within reach, came to the foreground.

M: Whereas, in your world, there are no more wars erupting, no more sea levels rising, no snowfall on a sunny day. No birds hatching, no dusk, no dawn. I stop myself to ask: How cray, that you’ll never know what happened the next day.

The performative ceremony was realized in two versions so far. One about 50 minutes long at the National Gallery in Prague, in collaboration with Pálma Fazakas, Agáta Hrnčířová, Dita Lamačová, and Sára Märc, among others. The second version was part of 2023 3hd Festival's Let Them Eat Cake night of performances at HAU2, it had 20 minutes, and it was realized together with Pálma Fazakas and Adrienne Herr, among others.

Directed and written by Martins Kohout.

Metal-work by Jiří Kohout.

Documentation from the first event is by Karolína Matušková (photo) and Michal Blecha (video).

Additional documentation from the first event is available here.

Documentation from HAU2, Berlin, Let Them Eat Cake, 3hd Festival 2023.