Finding Stillness- Revisiting The Contaminate 3 Festival- Part 1/3

Stillness is a concept that is explored through many practices. It is used in meditation, yoga,and Butoh. Stillness is captured through photographs, paintings, and animals use it as a defense mechanism. Stillness is universal concept and a communicative tool. The Present Tense is fascinated with how Stillness can be used in experiential art practices. This lead us to our recent call to artists working with Stillness. After reviewing The Present Tense archive, we found that Stillness was a common thread throughout The Contaminate 3 Festival we curated with TEST in 2008. To start off The Stillness Series, we will be sharing work from this festival over the next month.


Geneviéve Sideleau
“Knitted Walls” 2008

photo by Trevor Powers

Genviéve Sideleau creates installations, objects, and performances that address the body as a container/vessel. Often employing labor-intensive actions, she investigates the varied relationships between the body and objects. She is fascinated by anthropomorphism, obsessive behaviors, and the natural meditation that occurs through the process of domesctic work, daily routine, and repetitive actions.

For Contaminate 3, Sideleau sat inside of a hanging white box formed by panels of knitted lace. This structure was juxtaposed by a small screen showing a video her hands knitting the walls that the form was made of.  She remained still inside of the sculpture,her feet occasionally swaying as they hung below the knitted walls.  This was a gentle reward for the curious.

The choice to remain suspended in stillness, gave an equality to the knitted walls and her body.  The walls moved as frequently as she did, catching small rushes of air as the audience walked around them.  For several hours, Sideleau suspended time, offering the audience a pause.

photo by Trevor Powers

Rope Series: Manuela de los angeles

“Dress to fly” reflects on bodies in space, in relation to the external environment.  The intent it to expose the reality in which the individual depends on both the materials and themselves.

2007, Galeria de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin, duration: 90 minutes

This site-sensitive installation is composed of a cube of wood, needles, thread, and a cotton dress.  Large quantities of weight are held up by lightweight materials (the body weighs 47 kilos (103 lbs) and is held up by 57 threads of cotton yarn).  The garment is sewn while the body is held up by a wooden cabinet.  Once the garment is complete, the body is cradled by the threads, suspended in a white box.  The body remains in this cocoon anywhere from 1-33 hours.

2009, Second Bienniel Comfenalco Antioquia, Belen Library Park, duration: 190 minutes

2009, Second Bienniel Comfenalco Antioquia, Belen Library Park, duration: 190 minutes

2009, Second Bienniel Comfenalco Antioquia, Belen Library Park, duration: 190 minutes

Manuela de los Angeles (b. 1982 in Mexico City)  She is currently studying to earn her Masters degree in Visual Arts at the UNAM.  She has worked as a Curatorial Assistant in addition to showing her work in Mexico, Colombia, Italy and Spain.

Rope Series: Adam Gruba

"Prisoner of Infinity" 2010

“A rope can save or take away lives. Using a rope marks particles in a given time of our lives. I am using the elements in an endless rope, trying to wrap free or suspend gravity. Bound in a loop on the finger, a string helps one remember. I remember the first rope connected to my mother. I remember when it started to cut off the search. It sometimes seems to me that I must still be somewhere guided by a rope. Am I the Minotaur, or maybe a maze?” – Adam Gruba

“Experiment #3: Suspension/Pillow” 2010

Gruba falls asleep in a state of suspension. He describes the experience of this piece:

“…our thoughts venture simultaneously in two directions. Pain of the lines holding up an unmoving face, which we would like to get rid of, and at the same time the mechanism of catatonic processes is begun.”
location of performance: Poland

“Prisoner of Infinity” 2010

Performance in Oswiecim (Auchwitz) near market square, in front of Jewish Center building in Poland. Gruba uses his body to create the symbol of leminiskata (the infinity).  Using a rope that measures 100 meters, Gruba creates an interaction between people in the city with the “Prisoner of Infinity.”

Adam Gruba (b. 1988) – deals with the wider art of intermedia and their activities using the elements of performance, video, object, text. He uses a combination of performance to communicate new versions of philosophy – while aligning rules of representation between an image and the understanding of the image.  Performance uses an image reduction of aesthetics at the expense of its intellectual dimension, which for him, is the greatest importance in showing the work in process. Gruba’s work shows a thin line between art and life, creation and reality.  He has shown his performance and video work in Poland, Germany, Israel, Spain, Australia and Hungary. He is currently studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Continue reading