PERFORMER STAMMTISCH: Jörn J. Burmester and Joy Harder
At the far end of the room, a space where a human body used to be is marked by lengths of rough wood; the span of an arm, the width of his shoulders, the height of the man who once stood in this space.
This body container is not made for any body. It is made around this body – it remembers only him. The smell of his skin, his deep breathing, and the sweat that poured, became part of the wood as he wrestled the new skeleton tightly around him.
This wood marks the space where Jörn J. Burmester used to stand.
The small space was packed, and the summer evening hot and humid. Jörn’s fierce concentration had every set of eyes in the room tracing his precise movements through the space. The raw physicality of the two artist’s actions, and their focused attention defined our experience of this performance.
Jörn’s frantic sawing, stapling and ripping of gaffer tape with his teeth, slowly gave way to stillness. When he could no longer move, the new skeleton too strict around his limbs, his partner, Joy Harder, joined him to finish the job; efficiently screwing the wood together around him with as much concentration and urgency as Jörn had started with. Finally, with shaking hands, she released him from the tape binding him inside the case, and the performance was over.