ARIANNA FERRARI & JAN MERTENS
In this piece, Arianna transformed her body into an amplified percussive object on which Jan performed a 45 minute improvisation.
Arianna: “DRUM” is a practical investigation of what it is to be a machine, an object, an instrument. It was fundamental to be played by someone else who was in charge of every musical decision and a stranger to me (I met Jan Mertens three times before the performance). I needed complete detachment from him on a personal level on one side, but on the other hand I had to overcome the awkwardness of the situation, get rid of the feelings, of the psyche, of my humanity through the performance. I was also curious about how he would approach a “human drum”: if and how it was possible to overcome the emotional attachment to hitting a body; the repetitive rhythmic pattern and the long duration of the performance were crucial elements in order to achieve this. It has been a work on the overcoming of humanity, both for me and for Jan.
Jan: The biggest issue to overcome was the emotional attachment of hitting a body, being afraid to hurt it or causing discomfort, and being consciously aware of the fragility of the body. Conversations with Arianna made me think a lot about making the abstraction and viewing the body as an object rather than a subject. Nonetheless there was still a bit of doubt and emotional attachment in the beginning of the performance. I felt the duration of the piece particularly helped overcoming the final obstructions over the course of the performance. The repetitive percussion’s enchanting sonic qualities, physical endurance and visual atmosphere evoked a trance-like state. Therefore, I feel the body became more and more abstract and detached from the person.