KATHMANDU EXERCISE

Marie Julia Bollansée
performance at Nepal Art Council, Kathmandu (Nepal)
on March, 24 2017 from 3pm until 4pm
with Basanta Chhipaa and Rahul Thapa
3 sheeps woolen dresses, Mit Hendrickx knitwork
9 blue tarpaulins, signed, dated and numbered, limited edition of 9
36 stones, Tarpaulin blue paint
in Kathmandu Triennale 2017
thanks to Lasanaa/ NexUs Culture Nepal

videoclip, 6’53”
Marie Julia Bollansée, editing
Isaac Martinez, Monali Meher, Rocky Prajapati, Kireet Rajbhandari, camera

The performance is an exercise in understanding the city of Kathmandu and the people living here, it is an exercise in being silent and listening to life in the city, concentrating, laying on the ground in the center of the valley beneath the Himalayas. You can read this work as a reference to the catastrophic earthquake that tortured Kathmandu.
But the performance also refers to the petrified “fugitives” that are discovered in the lava in Pompeii (Italy), 2000 years after they were buried there by the volcanic eruption of the Vesuvius. It refers to Egyptian mummies and Etruscan sarcophagus. It also reminds to the very actual situation of political and economic refugees fleeing from their countries and searching for a safe and welcoming place on earth where they can build a new living.
I asked 2 men, inhabitants of Kathmandu, to perform with me. In collaborating this way, the performance, on the one hand, refers to the situation of men and women in Nepal, the existing role-models, the inequality,..., on the other hand, it wants to express the fundamental equality of all human beings.
The audience was invited to participate. They could lay down on the empty tarpaulins for the time they wanted to do so. When the performance was over, I left the tarpaulins on the square. The audience was free to take them away, and use them for whatever they want to, be it as a utensil to build a shelter, or be it saving a relic of this work of art. All the tarpaulins bear my signature, the title and the date of the performance, and they are numbered from 1 to 9.

9 blue tarpaulins, 3 sheep’s woolen dresses, 36 stones
The dresses are knit in sheep’s wool that I spun by hand. My mother knitted these costumes, and I carried them to Kathmandu in my suitcase.  Two of the dresses are knit in white wool, and one dress is in (natural) indigo-blue dyed wool. The indigo refers to history (as indigo and lapis lazuli are the two ancient blue tints), the white refers to the future.
The blue tarpaulins are nine small territories (2mx3m) for vulnerable people. Twilight zones of freedom, stability and shelter. Maybe praying-carpets or worship places. Maybe protest flags. Maybe tents for victims of the earthquake. Tarpaulins are the universal emergency solution and the primary shelter for people around the globe. And I perceive this changeable blue tint of tarpaulins, which I called Tarpaulin blue, as a sign of the time, as the now-blue.
The stones I used are fragments of collapsed buildings, traces of the earthquake that are scattered all around in the Kathmandu Valley.