HALF MOURNING

PREMIERED IN SCHIUME FESTIVAL OF PERFORMING ARTS (2013), FORTE MARGHERA, VENICE, ITALY

 

In 2012, between November 11th (Lāčplēšu diena) and December 2nd (the first remembrance day for all Latvians killed in the Stalinist repressions), futuremellon/not yet art has set and recorded a series of live and not public performing actions at Biķernieku memorial in the outskirts of Riga, where more than 45.000 people died between 1941 and 1944, after the Nazi invasion of Latvia. Each person died by one bullet, shot in the head from the back. Biķernieku forest, like Rumbula and many other mass murder sites, are forgotten places. Using the words of Marina Jarre in “Ritorno in Lettonia” (Back to Latvia, 2003) they are places where history cannot be shared, where “to tell” is “to betray”. Biķernieku forest was one of the anterooms of the genocide, a cruel experiment of massive death that led to the creation of less expensive and more effective death camps (lager or gulag). There we heard the sound of the rehearsal of a guilty insanity, we felt the freezing touch of thousands of senseless movements, we saw the distance between our hidden wounds and the unforgiving shame.

 

By the way, we tried to do what all the people usually do to survive: forgetting. Or remembering something else.Our performing actions were trials of bringing our present time back in a place that has tried to cancel its past and its future. No ghost, and no tragos in our movement’s choreography and dramaturgy. Motion is always and only a present action.

 

Meanwhile (but time has been stretched and pulled), inside the buildings of Purvciems that stand close to that contemporary Hanging Rock, life is hidden and hanged to the loneliness of another loss: the Soviet deportation in Siberia. Latvia’s recent history has been trapped between these two crimes, between those two historical boundaries, in a symmetrical, frozen position that does not allow any third way of revenge, justice, redemption, consolation. Or heroism. A contemporary Lāčplēš, is present in the dark, with the dead heaviness of a pair of wings that won’t make him fly, but will proof our survival.

 

In collaboration with NADEZHDA BELYAYEVA, ANNA SOBOLEVA, VALDA VIDZEMNIECE

Sound recorded during lessons and rehearsal sessions at JAZEPS VITOLS LATVIAN ACADEMY OF MUSIC