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Precarious Performance

Text and video by Lucija Polonijo

Often referring to working conditions, my performances explore the complex relationships between doing art and the elemental survival of the individual in society.

In a society that considers art a hobby or leisure in free time it is difficult to point out the importance of the active presence of art and artists in the wider social discourse.

Art and culture shape the reality around us. This often remains invisible and imperceptible to us because it requires a certain mental and spiritual involvement of the observer on the work of art itself.

Approaching the topic of participation in culture and art from a personal position and from my own experience, I question the relationship between private – public (culture, art) and the position of artists in the local context.

Not every artist has the luxury of being able to leave their full-time daily job. Moreover, a steady income, especially at the beginning of an artistic career, is important as artists at the beginning of their careers are mostly unable to support themselves through art.

It is as if we are back in ancient times when humanity was not technologically advanced enough to be able to afford moments of free time in which they are free to create out of need rather than out of necessity. Almost like a Neanderthal in the transition from nomadic to sedentary life.

All this obviously tells us that we are in a kind of transition. And in what exactly? It is up to us as a society to define.

During my studies, I worked on many paid jobs so that I could study and pursue art. Working on these jobs required a kind of derivation of another identity. Identifying with the state of “non-art” and looking for connections with my original self. The artistic one.

Unfortunately, in most cases, cultural and artistic labor include precarious working conditions, and very often unpaid work.

With this performance, I mark the beginning of work on a large project in culture, as a kind of intimate diary of my professional development path. It is about marking personal progress, after many years of skillful juggling between harsh reality and possible utopia.

Performance was done on the last day of my waitressing job, when after the weekend shift I came to clean the cafe where I worked day and night, to perform an intimate performance after a long artistic break. I record a kind of moment of self-reflection with a camera and thus immortalize an important moment in my personal and professional development.

I often use my own body as a medium of artistic expression. In the act itself, I primarily strive for personal transformation, and only after that to communicate with the outside world. Therefore, my video performances are minimalist, repetitive, and narrative, in order to achieve a contemplative reaction in the viewer.

One part of the private performance (without the audience) was documented by a camera and the material was subsequently edited.

The performance is part of a broader artistic research on the synthesis of art and life in order to raise public awareness that without culture and art we cannot consider ourselves a developed society.