Cyprus Mail

Performance art in the virtual

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Helen Kirwan, an artist currently in residence as part of the Cyprus Academy of Arts Residency Programme, is launching a new project of live online performances titled Performance art in The Virtual. The project will consist of five one-off performance art pieces broadcast live to a global audience every two weeks starting from Friday so audiences from around the world will be able to join in.

Her first performance in the virtual will premiere this Friday on “This innovative approach to the experience of performance art,” say organisers, “is especially poignant during the global pandemic and the new reality which we humans find ourselves in… During the performance, Kirwan will make seemingly endless cuts into a pomegranate. These acts of futile repetition echo the absurd processes which Kirwan believes are essential to the act of mourning.

“Viewers will become immersed in a compelling, meditative experience as they watch the repetition of cuts exposing the innards of the fruits, the glistening seeds and the blood-red juice oozing out of them. The pomegranate has carried powerful symbolic and mythological meaning in many cultures for many centuries. In Greek mythology, it was known as the ‘fruit of the dead’ having arisen from the blood of Adonis while ancient Sumerians believed that the souls of the dead ate pomegranate seeds to become immortal.”

Kirwan’s performances of futile activities are part of her ongoing inquiry into mourning and loss and are a form of marking time. Her work draws on her own experience of mourning the loss of a loved one. “These futile activities are the performance of the searching and yearning which some psychologists identify as essential to the bereavement process,” she explains.

The repetition which lies at the heart of Kirwan’s work draws on the Hegelian concept of memory as a dynamic process of repetition that constantly reinvents itself. Her seemingly endless, repetitive tasks serve as a medium for the metaphorical construction of memory.


Performance art in the Visual

A series of live online performances by Helen Kirwan, part of the Cyprus Academy of Arts Residency Programme. February 26. 6 pm GMT. For info: [email protected]

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