After my last experimentation, I decided there were a few things I wished to change and incorporate in my next performance.
In the previous piece, there was a lack of ‘beginning’ and therefore felt that I could use the Yoni gesture I had developed in my next performance – to indicate the start and end of the ritual. The use of this ‘symbolic’ gesture would mark a sense of respect for what I was about to do and had done and also demonstrate a reverence for the feminine and to show that I was blessing myself in the ritual and therefore wishing to embody the tree’s life-force. Again, there is a sense of narcissism and elevating oneself, in taking something that does not belong to me – similar to the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden. However, I am suggesting that I am taking back the immortality that was lost by taking from the tree – in a sense, it is a ‘profane (as opposed to divine) retribution’ of Eve.
I mentioned previously that I would be fully clothed in my performances because I felt it was unnecessary and perhaps too obvious to be naked. Again, in line with the story of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve saw their nakedness after eating from the tree, became ashamed and covered themselves. Therefore, I do not feel it necessary to my concept to be naked, as I not only have freedom of choice but do not wish to present my body as an object to be judged.
However, I did decide to be barefoot in my performance, not only because I felt my footwear was distracting but because I wanted to have a physical connection to nature as this is an important factor in the performance.
I wore black in my performance, simply because it is the colour of ‘mourning’ in the Western world and I was suggesting the loss of the tree’s immortality.
The result was as follows:
After taking photographs and watching the footage back, I did feel a sense of guilt at damaging the tree for my own selfish desires. Furthermore, this was emphasized more, when looking at the photographs of the damaged bark, that looked like barbaric wounds – similar to flesh wounds. From this I could sense the life of the tree and a sense of pain.
This further highlighted the religious and spiritual feeling that the performance had evoked within me. After experiencing the guilt of taking something that was not mine to take, I decided that I would not carry out the performance again.
These feelings emphasized to me how damaging the empty quest for youth can be on one’s inner self and well being. The aging process is inevitable and is impossible to reverse no matter how many products or how much surgery one has – these things are unimportant and only superficial.