Black Square

<Black Square>
No Signal in the zone,
no wave band between divided zone.
Movement and words getting dissolved,
System halted suddenly.

On sunny Sundays, the lawn in front of Schloss Solitude turns into a scene one is usually familiar with from public swimming pools. Except the pool is missing. People are gathering with blankets, for picnics or some light sports.

It is observing and being observed, an involuntary performance on blanket sized stages – a situation that served as a starting point for the development of the performance Black Square of seven performers, initiated by XinJun Zhang, that started with tearing apart a huge black textile square.
The underlying structure was given by seven dice, one for each performer, and two simple rules: the number on the dice tell the performance time between one and six minutes. Performers who throw the same numbers at the same time have to perform together.

»Black square is black in area or volume, a part of »black« – which represent absoluteness, infinity, and nothingness coming from Suprematism. It is the negative object or space contrasted with the object and space bulging in the other direction – the specific bulge, specific time, and space in uncertain ages of Schloss Solitude. Black square is the space of dark, the isolation from white. Black square is the space covered, is the information blocked.
Motivated by attempting to insert and embed this object in all its forms onto the grass meadow in front of the castle by struggling with the fabric, each performer tore into the material creating multiple spaces. We used the black fabric as our performing stages and as bulging material, unifying and interfering with the public scattered around the meadow. «

In response to the performance each of the seven performers wrote down their experience according to a similar principle as the performance was structured. This time the number of sentences was determined by the last digit of the first listed contact number in the individual mobile phone address book of every participant.

»The seven differently colored dice accompany each of the seven performers. The performing time for each intervention is limited to maximum six minutes according to the number of eyes on the dice.
This provided a structure for an improvisational performance—static sculpture or repeated actions. We were observed as the sunbathing visitors were observed. We interfered with the space they occupied and cast it into common space as they could see spots where a different biography was represented through different bodies.«Xinjun Zhang

»The black fabric, as a chunk of undefined space, emerges from the vibrant dynamics between us and our sunbathing or picnicking partners at the meadow. It becomes a short-lived space within a performative sculpture, a spontaneous act of intervention, guided by chance. It is alarming. Disruptive. Meditative. Anxious. The undefined space, grows its presence, like an anti-matter. Then we hear a “ring” and it is annihilated within a moment, like it never was.«Antoni Rayzhekov

»The Black Square is the mother of all things and we are the midwives assisting their births.«Katharina Köller

»For a process like this you need to come blank, in a way, as a performer. We all have different rhythms and I noticed how in every try-out I understood better the group and the fabric. For me, at the end, it was about making still images, installing squares in life and motion.«Li Lorian

»On the first hand, the Black Fabric is a perfect tool to blur any external space, while on the other hand it works as an agent of connection between performers. The performance is a site specific intervention, an exchange between social-/natural space and humans. I reckon that we thought that we used the space. I reckon the space used the performers to blur itself in order to renew. The artist Tschumi, who works on site-specific art said: »Madness articulates something that is often negated in order to preserve a fragile cultural or social order.« I cannot agree more.«Jean-Lorin Sterian

»The grass in front of Schloss Solitude is an open public space, beautiful, special, and valuable, frequented by many who seek its views, calmness, and a peak into castle life above the city – as well as the perfect photo opportunity. Yet most visitors arrive with »tools« to mark territory, and blankets in all colors lay as flags and picket fences on the ground to mark a temporary private zone. I see the black fabric as a way to question those notions of territory and rather propose a ‘Temporary Autonomous Zone’ by ripping, folding, wrapping, embodying, mutating the pieces of fabric into zones of real-time collaborative creation and responsiveness which inserts cracks into the context around it. Mirroring and confronting through the use of body and fabric becomes a collective act to resist division of space.«Nina Støttrup Larsen

»It was, apart from many other things, the exercise of being there, just being there, then being there very much. Being there, out of your comfort zone, not knowing what to do next, then watching yourself and another person making it happen. It was not a perfect performance and it was not meant to be. Everything was welcome, allowed to happen. What a relief! In a strange way it was very real. Such is life.«Martin Theis