I enjoy arriving to a performance without expectations, without reading about it beforehand and just see and feel what happens to me in the moment. What happened here was a lot. A lot of information, a lot of words, images, body movements – a mix of different forms of communication. Beautiful poetry combined with a kind of informative hyperactivity. Boldness and masculinity in contrast with poetry and raw, improvised body gestures. How come that a person is able to manage all of these ingredients at the same time and able to smoothly switch in between various forms. My eyes were so focused on the visually dynamic and interesting forms of this performance that my ears did not manage to absorb all the politically historical content, because it was a lot of information to take in. But that’s probably just me being too slow. Somehow a word ‘struggle’ comes to my mind, it was not a piece that I would call ‘easy going’ but probably that’s the whole point of it, to trigger uncanniness.

“Jeremiah Day (1974, USA) is re-examining political conflicts and resistances through unfolding their subjective traces and contexts through photography, speech and body language.” (info from the website of The Graduate School an the Postgraduate Forum of the Berlin University of the Arts).

It’s amazing how many different forms and temperaments a performance can be – from an abstract setup without words to an overflow of information and facts. A fiction can be a performance, a documentary can be a performance. A film or a performance can be a story in-between.

In September I was attending a performance of a Dutch artist Roos Tulen, during the food and art festival in Schiedam. She was serving Syrian food in a homey atmosphere. We were a small group sitting around the dinner table, connected in some way and consuming the experience. The food tasting was accompanied by a video projection on the table and the sound on the headphones. It was a story about Syrian refugees in the Netherlands. And once again, I was too slow to digest all the layers at once, as a “one sense at the time” person. I was tasting the food while listening to a story on the headphones and at times also watching a video. And I was all the time late with finishing the food, but I don’t like to eat fast, specially in the context of (layered) art. Roos explained to me that that is how quickly they eat in a Syrian family, so she had adjusted to it.

Somehow I believe that in the times of coping with constant rush, burnouts and information overflow, an artist could allow to slow down the space around him or her. Just below the dinning room there was my slow motion video playing. I stay loyal to the slow. Maybe because my part time job in a semi fast food cafe has traumatised me. Maybe because I love my slow Estonian friends.

Just came across this ‘what is now’ clock.

There I was, having some lovely time in Paris during the contemporary art fair Paris Internationale in the end of october, but not knowing what to do after the closing times of the galleries. The weather was too nice for an autumn evening so the mission was not completed yet. After a little research via Facebook I got to know about a late night performance in the member’s club of the filmmaker David Lynch. And so I went there to see the performance of American novelist, poet and criminal defense attorney  Vanessa Place. I didn’t know she was an attorney until I googled her. She is also a codirector of an independent, nonprofit literary press, Les Figues.
It was the first time I saw her performance and I must say that the mix of experience of the space and the performance was  intense in a good way. The club is designed in the style of David Lynch films – enigmatic, dark, sensual, distant and the performance was build around the forbidden fruit, the question of a suicide. The artist was reading out loud an interesting text touching upon experiences and just thoughts around the wish to die. It kept my attention because there was maturity, wisdom and also some kind of sweetness to it. The dark red setting of the performance was complimenting the act. Her words “Why do you want to live another year? Why do you want to live another two years?” made me wonder about the moments that we subtract from our future vision or an image in our mind and place into the now. I think that in my age many women live at least partly for their kids, but the only experience I ever had was living for myself. It probably made me into this independent woman who wants to live another year to at least try to fulfil her dreams and challenge herself, avoiding deep swamps. Now I sound like a western product, but I can’t disagree that doing what I love for another year would be great. To see and to show art that has depth and ability to take you to places that you want to explore.

Performance in Rankas Manor (Latvia) during the Plain Air, Painting outdoors 2016.

Reading of a poem “Marvelous vulnerability” of Latvian actress and poet Biruta Skujeniece (1888. – 1931.). This poem is about vulnerability, beauty and fragility of various delicate moments in nature. Beautiful and wise words from one of the first known Latvian female poets. I found my wish to prolong the life of the beautiful old I have observed in this particular place during the time of my stay. The reading was combined with my contemplation on the subject of nature, human and vulnerability, and my experiences concerning nature while living in the Netherlands.

The setup of this performance was adjusted to the event, where other artists are painting outdoors – a young woman reading a book in an abondoned servants house, on the premises of the manor.

Rankas Manor was built in the middle of 18th and 19th century, and it had suffered from two fires – in 1986 and 1990. In the last 12 years the manor and it’s surrounding is slowly being restored.

 

A drawing, collage book made in collaboration with Steven Lenoir.

It is a book about growing up and finding oneself in absurd social contexts and trying to orientate in it.

“The book Arta Balina produced in the summer of 2016 is wonderful pile-up.

As an object, it’s modern and old-school at the same time. It’s got 3mm thick (but ridiculously light) pages that got lasercut texts and images. But it also has low-tech pages with an air of old stencilmachines and copiers.

As a production, it’s both meticulous and raw. The laser cutting is so precise it turns even a quickly made notation into a ‘definite version’ of itself. On the other hand the book also features torn paper as backdrop, fuzzy photographs and under-and-over saturated printing.

As for its content, it’s both carefree and painfully observant. The drawings are quick, but deal with universal and lasting issues. The size and nature of the pages almost suggests a children’s book, but the content touches on subjects one can only get to by having lived quite a bit.

It results in a book of delightful complexity and contradiction.”

Maarten de Reus
tutor Gerrit Rietveld Academy

The book is available in the art book shop San Serriffe in Amsterdam and in the Galerie Emmy Miltenburg, Schiedam.

A moving metaphor. An open audiovisual sculpture. This work is my visual contemplation on personal space, body, control and connection. At the core of this video work is my contemplation on the question of personal autonomy and how this sense relates to other people. How much autonomy and space in real and metaphorically do I have in my own body, in my daily life, during my breakfast?

 

I am creating a moving sculpture in a form of a video. Before I started, I was wondering – how would it be to build a video like a sculpture? While I was busy creating the set – welding spoons and seats, I had a feeling that the objects, which took shape in my hands, will communicate by themselves. This work is an experimental mixture of controlled craftsmanship, freedom of performers and decisions about what has to be captured through the lens of the camera.

Having been working in a quick service restaurant during my last year of Rietveld, it has been a joy to extend the cutlery, leaving no other choice to my performers as to take it slow. Taking the time to eat and to be in the moment.

This moving metaphor a link with Jewish folklore that talks about feeding. Today societies that used to be open are more closed because of outer factors in the world, but we hang in and can only demonstrate our own tolerance and openness to the people we are confronted with.

 

The performance “Skinship” was done in collaboration with Anna Dorota Radzimirska and Yulia Ratman. The subject of the performance is the lost language of physical touch. One performer is filming close ups of the physical interaction between the other two performers and the image is projected live on the cinema screen. The play between physical presence and live-filmed image became holistic. The experience of the lost language of touch through the lens of cinema. The performance took place the in the Eye cinema and film museum in Amsterdam.

Video work commissioned by Noord/Zuidlijn metro line project, Amsterdam. This video is inspired by the work in progress by Amalia Pica – an artist who is making an artwork for the Pijp metro station in Amsterdam. Large wall paintings where the colours of the Pijp district are dripping down the the walls of the metro station. I decided to make a journey through these colours and I wrote a travelling poem for it.