HOLD ME, BLOW ME
MANUEL MOLINA MARTAGON
A ping-pong ball is given to each participant as they enter the auditorium. When it was my turn to perform on stage, I took a deep breath and I placed the ball over my mouth and began to blow. I held the ball in the air for several seconds until I depleted my air reserve. I took a deep breath and repeated the action several times. Later I invited the audience to try to hold their ball in the air. As it was expected, some people were able to do it easily, some needed a little practice, and some were totally unable. Some people didn’t try. It was a very nice moment when the first attempts failed and the balls hit the floor, making the particular bounce noise, followed by laughter.
This performance addresses the issues of success and failure. The ball was given in the entrance to build a sense of anticipation, a chance of play, and to develop familiarity with the object. In this controlled situation, all the participants have the means to be part of the performance, and it is their choice to get involved or not; I like this moment of isolating the possibilities of the choice. I am interested in performances that allow several layers of experience. In “Hold me, Blow me,” you can experience the action and watch other people having the same experience. It allows space for the participants to realize how they relate with the context on both a collective and personal level. Using a very mundane and nonsense action as a vehicle, it may trigger situations of vulnerability, such as fear of ridicule, repression, or comparison. The action can also work as a challenge, forcing one to engage in a problem-solving opportunity in public. At the end of the performance, some people asked me for extra balls to take home for friends and relatives.