This piece was a commission from Stromereien Festival in Zurich. They invited me to do a performance in Zurich without me being present. The theme of the festival was self-optimization and they challenged the invited artists to question: How can we communicate performance arts if the artist is not present?
I decided to include this commission in The Dream Project and the performance The Gifts was the result of one of my monthly practices. At that time I was in Mexico City for a few months and since the theme was self-optimization I tried to relate the concept with my situation in Mexico by doing something that affected my experience discovering the city. So during one month in Mexico City I had daily missions that produced each day a gift for an unknown spectator that would attend the performance in Zurich, together with a a letter talking about the experience of the day. 30 days, 30 missions, 30 gifts, 30 letters, 30 spectators.
I love to make gifts; and I love to make performances. I realized that making a gift is for me something comparable to make a performance. The pleasure and process is very similar. Making a gift and receiving it is a performance in itself. The preparations, the thinking, the emotions, the doubts, the excitement, the planning etc. that lead to a precise unrepeatable moment addressed to a receiver.
The practice of making the gifts was a filter to alter my reality discovering Mexico City and the performance was a performative journal of my experiences on this practice. Each gift has an experience, story, interest, choreography or anecdote behind it. Each gift is also a little performance.
Once the practice was finished I sent by post two big boxes with the gifts to Zurich together with some instructions. The performance took place around a long table and basically it consisted of opening of the gifts. Each spectator would read his/her letter and open his/her gift one by one and then placing them on a fixed point on the table. Little by little this was creating an installation on the table, a visual journal. Through the gifts and my absence in the performance, I wanted to propose the creation of an imaginary experience of myself in a city that is not the one where the performance is taking place.
Artistic and production assitant: Maria José Montijano Collaborators in the practice: Maria José Montijano and Maria Villalonga.
The images below are part of the preparation of the installation before sending it to Zurich.