Asher Lev: ‘OutOf aiR is a participatory work and one of the main questions it poses is: how do we breathe together? One of the mechanisms for inducing/encouraging participation is of a particular kind – necessity. At one point in the work, the performer, Irina Lavrinovic, submerges herself underneath the water and holds her breath. After a few minutes have gone by, while still keeping her clam submerged position underwater, she signals to the spectators that she needs them to give her air by blowing up balloons that they previously received.
It is obvious to all that she put herself (or with consent to the choreography) in this needy and haphazard position and could have chosen differently. But it is also quite clear that her body cannot be sustained much longer in that position without breathing again. While the audience reflects upon the realness of artifice of her demand, her time is running out and this part of the choreography is about to collapse. The question the spectators might be asking themselves is: should they take responsibility for a situation they did not create, but are nonetheless, an active part of?
Inevitably, they decide to act and blow up the balloons and supply her with the air she needs. By doing so, they help her breathe and stay underwater. They help sustain the structure of the choreography and they participate in it out of necessity located in multiple realms and bodies.
My graduation project is rooted in a three year interest and investment in experimental somatic practices with a specific concentration around the act of breathing. During the research process, this personal engagement with corporeal awareness has given way to the politics of air as a social invisible (i)material. The research has shifted from being concentrated on breath to a provocative focus on air and its social problematics relating to the fact of it being a shared material. This important slide also occurs within the forty five minute long performance of OutOf aiR, which is co-authored by Irina Lavrinovic. Treating air as a performative medium and engaging in its social politics is unique to my project.'
Julia Willms, Independent Fine Art Professional: 'When the performer is under water, we as an audience are confronted with the situation of the depletion of air within a confined environment and our responsibility towards the performer in it. The importance of the element air and our constant dependency on it become urgent. But not only that, also the interdependent system we are all part of as being part of an ecological feedback system, notions of power, manipulation, group process decision making, cooperation, questions of contagion, sharing fluids, and the feeling of urgency of being and staying attentive to keep the performance going and co-responsibility towards it come into play.'
Jeroen Fabius, Artistic Director DAS Choreography: 'This is a piece about scale, detail, and the intimate space of the breath in the body. This piece is about feeling the body. This work presents the spectator with many moments to decide how to relate, it is both a playful as a confronting work of art. The work is confronting questions of life and death, of drowning, of witnessing and of participation. The work is dealing with existential human matters, it also raises questions of sharing responsibility and community.
Breath means the very condition of the continuation of life. Asher Lev confronts the spectator with ‘physiological dramaturgy’, the processes that permeate bodies of human beings. The piece has a playful tone, but deals with fundamental issues of human existence. As it is constructed it also confronts fundamental notions of sharing and participation.
Lev and Lavrinovic move out of the traditional theatrical mode of presentation and open possibilities for showing their work within the world of performance art and visual arts. They have made an exceptional work that leaves a strong impression with the spectator that one does not easily forget.'