Can you tell me about the interviews that you’re doing for this project? You’re talking to people about love, right?
Alexandra: We ask, “What does love mean to you?” Some people completely talk about physical attraction, some people more spiritual, and everything in between. We ask about the five senses: any smells that inspire a sense of love, or textures, shapes, forms, sounds, objects, colors, environments, situations and so on. The questions are problematic in their own right, depending on what the definition of love is [for the interviewee]. There is a tension going on, while they are thinking, “Should I actually tell you something you want to hear?” Then we venture off the road into some other grounds and that’s exciting. We ask what messages [they] got from parents about love, looking at the formation and patterns that developed. “If you made a love cocktail, or love soup, what are your main ingredients?” Talking about the opposite of love is an emotional experience as well…
How do you find your subject matter? What brought you to being interested in love?
A: It is the spaces in-between, the meeting point of the opposites. The bridging is the key question in our interviews. How do you move from one space, the space of non-love, the opposite of love, to love? That action happens in the in-between space. We are trying to go to the more ephemeral, how to pin point down… a little like in-between the in and out breath.
P: The space in-between is like…an alchemical process. The bridging of the two worlds, the ephemeral and the material meet, that’s the space…where I see the work trying to operate; there is both a very material and a very spiritual element for me. Like an embodiment, and dare I say, meditation. It’s those combinations, finding a space in…alchemy is probably the best word I can come up with, because it deals with the magic, the mystery and the material. It’s the combination of two that creates something other. Maybe it’s the space of other.
When conceptualizing a performance, do you feel like you’re approaching it more like a ritual, or is it solving a problem that you’ve created? Alchemy can be a very spiritual or very physical endeavor… an alchemist is also trying to solve a problem.
A: It’s both definitely. The ritual is always there, and there is an intent. Maybe [it’s] a question that needs an answer, a problem that needs solving, something that needs shifting, transforming. It’s not necessarily the ritual that stands in the foreground. The way it is performed has a ritualistic quality. When it goes into interactive spaces, people are drawn into it, questions are asked, [the audience’s] answers are used and transformed. So there is this continuous kind of dialogue…everyone is embraced and included in it… P: The work feels like a bracket…trying to hold, or frame, an experience… We always have a framework that has a specific action. We place ourselves into in a live moment, that isn’t rehearsed, so we are putting a kind of structure into space that is still open and giving, a process that is still to unfold. It’s holding, framing, contextualizing something, as a ritual would do.
Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter, http://www.zierlecarterliveart.com/, speaks with Isabella Bruno.
Text courtesy of Performance Ritual
See their work at throughtheheartperformances