WAITING FOR YOU
KIMBAL QUIST BUMSTEAD
My interest as an artist is the choreography or curation of other people’s bodies through performative interventions. The problem I face within this and the focus of the artistic research is how and why do I get people to participate in these interventions. In some projects I work within existing relationships, i.e. that with a lover, friend or parent. These relationships are already established and so the idea of the project is to expose or explore the connection or disconnection between them and myself. However, in my work with strangers, I rely on the cooperation of someone with whom I must develop a relationship by means of the intervention. This is not always possible and so the important thing for me is to hold a simple and coherent structure that people are able to participate within.
In June 2011, I walked to the eastern end of Terschelling Island (off the northern coast of the Netherlands), and set up my tent in the dunes. I had made contact via email with the acquaintance of the friend of an acquaintance whom I knew would be on the island at the time. I invited this person to visit me at my temporary residence. The invitation was to share a dinner with me, cooked on my camping stove, and to stay the night in my tent. We would share stories of each other’s lives and our intimate experiences of being with other people. In the morning this person would return to whatever they were doing on the island, but would be responsible to find another person to visit me that evening, to bring food and water. I would not leave the beach during the week that I was there, and so I relied on this help from other people. Every day at 6pm I walked down onto the beach to meet this person. As they stepped onto the beach, we could see each other as small dots from two kilometers away, growing larger and more human with each step, shaping our guesses about who each other was. Sometimes somebody came, sometimes they didn’t. I waited two days without water. I was interested in that risk, of someone not following the structure that I had set. But equally I wanted this person to feel a strong sense of responsibility towards me knowing that I could only continue this project with their help.