No flies. Performance

Performance for others to carry out
Nieuwstraat Festival, Dordrecht, The Netherlands

Clare Charnley: No flies - a performance for two people.

Two performers. Each holds an imaginary fly in cupped hands.

Be careful - it might escape. So keep your hands tight but don’t squash it. Keep checking, and sometimes moving your hands, to be sure there are no small gaps between your fingers.
Walk through the streets together, concentrating on carrying your fly. Don’t rush. Take your time. Don’t start conversations, but if anyone asks what you are carrying, say ‘nothing’.
At a wide space, a cross roads, or a place you decide is suitable, stop. Slowly (really slowly) and together, lift your cupped hands above your heads.
Look up at your hands. Open them.
Just open your hands. Do not watch the flies flying away. There is nothing there.

Together, decide your route in advance.
Together, practice carrying and releasing the flies in advance. Work out how you both walk away at the end.
The performance can be done any time of night and day.

I did this performance twice: 8:00/8:30 with Finn Melvin Caird:
We chose a spot on a street and walked towards each other, met at a point in the street where a lot of people gathered.
Since it was the first performance, We decided to focus on the actual walk to a certain point and then meet each other.
I walked with the imaginary fly in my hand. I also tried to really feel that there was a fly in my hands. I made a gesture with my hands, that could have been caused by something moving between my hands. Every now and then, while walking, I briefly glanced between my fingers without opening my palms or fingers to protect it and to care for it. It felt like I was holding something that was vulnerable. When people walked by, I protected it, and showed that there was something in my hands. While walking i kept protecting it and at the distance I saw Finn also walking towards to the meting point.
We arrived at the agreed place and we both raised our hands and contents above our heads, and opened our hands at the same time. We let it go. I let it flow and it went up in the air. Like a balloon that makes you rise in the sky, that disappears in the sky, that you look at and eventually you see a dot and then it disappears into space. It was a nice airy feeling. It was fun to get together and do this.
It was like it was about something you gently hold on to and then let go into the space. It was very nice to do this performance with Finn, thank you for working together.
After this I was thinking about a performance of Frans van Lent : some time ago he made a painting with white paint on a white wall.

12:30/13:00 with Ienke Kastelein:
We were later, because we first talked about Ienkes work and performances with the academy in Groningen Netherlands. We were not in a hurry, and walked side by side on the Nieuwstraat where the festival took place, towards a statue of William of Orange, where we decided to release the imaginary fly.
Walking together gave me a peaceful feeling, as if we were making a new path through all the hectic people, who walked there too. Carrying something in my hands, which was no longer a moving thing but rather a void that could be opened. When we both arrived at the agreed point, it happened to be more about bringing things together, putting something down and letting it go. After this I had an feeling of relaxation, peace. Cooperation was very pleasant, as we made something good and new on this place. After this I was very curious about the Artist Claire Charnley. I read and saw some about here work and a festival in Italy.

Finn: We walked side by side down the street, not acknowledging each other, holding our hands tightly to keep the fly safe. The movement was staggered, floaty, anxious to keep them safe. There was a nervous energy- an urgency about it. The pace was slow and sometimes we would stop moving completely, led by the movement of the fly, our eyes would follow that direction. In the middle of the street, in the main seating area, we held our clasped hands over our heads and each released the flies. When letting go of the flies, it felt like a tension was lifted, and a more relaxed energy invited in. A lightness.

After a short conversation about our approach, Stefanie and I decided to walk on opposite sides of the street.
We walked slowly keeping our no-flies in our hands. During the performance I wanted to stay focused on doing and not be distracted by thinking or analyzing – but it still happened every now and then. What is the difference between pretending that there is a fly and holding a no-fly or even pure emptiness in your hands? The latter being a beautiful concept. I felt like bringing a tender gesture to the Nieuwstraat. Releasing the no-fly and watching it disappear into thin air was beautiful too. This is what it revealed: bringing care and tenderness as a gesture and a presence to the street. “Are you playing a game?” someone asked? “Make sure it doesn’t escape!” “Are you on some kind of spiritual quest?” were some other comments. I replied to the latter: “it’s a mystery!”

( in dutch : raadsel )