Third Hand, 2019
The starting point for Vlatka Horvat’s performance Third Hand is a collection of scenes, images, and performance moments that other artists and writers have recounted to her from memory. Responding to this unruly catalogue of vivid fragments, and combining them with her own memories of different performances, Horvat creates a work that is somewhere between collage, an animated archive, and a kaleidoscopic memory palace.
Third Hand explores the ways in which performance lingers despite the processes of distortion, displacement, and erasure which take place in memory and over time, and which are amplified through the act of narration. The human body summoned in Third Hand is a problematic, transforming, and misremembered one – mistaken for animal, ghost, object, or machine; hesitant and determined, exhausted and persisting, ecstatic, working, resting, and playing as it is made and remade in language and in the moment of performance.
The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, as part of City of Chicago’s Year of Theater program for 2019, has organized an exhibition focused around the archive of goat island, a Chicago-based performance company, which has – over the course of its 23-year lifespan (1986 – 2009) and after – influenced generations of artists and performance makers, both in Chicago and internationally.
Titled …we have discovered the performance by making it, the exhibition presents materials from the company’s archive alongside new works by nine artists who are being commissioned to develop new projects in a dialogue with the nine performance works of goat island. As one of the invited artists, I have been asked to make a work that starts with an encounter with goat island’s piece It’s an Earthquake in my Heart, which I saw when it was first presented in Chicago in 1999.
The construction of memory – investigated through enactments of an unnamed disaster and through repetitive re-playing of its aftermath – was at the heart of goat island’s It’s an Earthquake in my Heart. Accepting the invitation to make a work in response to it, I have decided not to watch video documentation, but to make my work by summoning fragments, images, and moments of multiple performances that linger in the bodies and memories of other people. Deferring the act of remembering to others in this way, my response to Earthquake is to echo this absent object by placing its fragments in dialogue with those taken from other absent objects..
This project is supported by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) as part of the exhibition goat island archive – we have discovered the performance by making it.
Research and development supported by a residency at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, where a work-in-progress was shown in April 2019, as part of the program of IN>TIME performance festival. The work-in progress was developed and performed with Michael Thomas, a co-founder of the Chicago-based collaborative group Lucky Pierre.
The piece will premiere on the 4th of June 2019 at the Chicago Cultural Center.
The following artists and writers have generously contributed their performance memories for the project:
Aaron Landsman, Alissa Chanin Kolaj, Andrea Bozic, Andy Field, Anna Krauss, Ant Hampton, Alan Read, Augusto Corrieri, Barbara Matijevic, Bojan Djordjev, Britt Hatzius, Bruno Roubicek, Caroline Bergvall, Cathy Naden, CJ Mitchell, Claire Marshall, David Williams, Deborah Pearson, Duska Radosavljevic, Edit Kaldor, Eva Meyer-Keller, Goran Sergej Pristas, Harun Morrison, Heman Chong, Hugo Glendinning, Ivana Ivkovic, Jana Dolecki, Janez Jansa, Jason Crouch, Jerry Killick, Joe Kelleher, John Rowley, Jonathan Burrows, Jovana Stokic, Julie Tolentino, Karen Christopher, Kate Valk, Lucy Suggate, Madeleine Botet de Lacaze, Mark Etchells, Megan Vaughn, Michael Thomas, Nada Gambier, Neil Bennun, Neil Callaghan, Nikki Tomlinson, Paul Hughes, Peter Petralia, Rabih Mroué, Rajni Shah, Richard Hancock, Robin Arthur, Rosana Cade, Ryan Tacata, Sarah Wishart, Season Butler, Selina Thompson, Simon Bowes, Simone Kenyon, Terry O’Connor, Tomislav Medak, Theron Schmidt, Tim Etchells, Traci Kelly, Una Bauer, Wendy Houstoun, Young Jean Lee, Zrinka Uzbinec