I AM NOT TINO SEHGAL – I AM A CAT
The performance was a durational piece of choreographed and improvised feline movement. Referencing Tino Sehgal’s piece “Kiss,” a collection of amorous scenes from art history, “I Am Not Tino Sehgal - I Am a Cat” drews from artworks through history which represent cats. Expanding on the social life of humans, the performance explored an embodiment of animal life. The improvisation in feline style questioned the potential of inhabiting non-human movement vocabulary.
Four performers took turns inhabiting the gallery space; three of them were present at any one time. One moved repeatedly through a slow-motion choreography that consisted of nine positions based on pieces of art representing cats. The stances were performed on loop in their historical order. Amongst the works were the Egyptian Gayer-Anderson Cat, Renoir’s Girl and Cat (1880-81), and Rachman’s By Day She Made Herself Into a Cat (1920). The two other performers moved around the gallery space as cats.
The slow-motion choreography was based on representation, whereas the improvisation focused on internal experience of ‘cat-ness’; shifting away from human awareness. The performers wore casual clothes, retaining their human appearance —while behaving like cats. The gallery staff were in charge of scratching or patting the cats to inform them of role changes.
By placing feline body language on the human body, the relationship between the two species is interrogated. What are the social conventions around animal representation? Are we more prepared to see a cat painting rather than a cat performance? How do we relate to each other through behaviour that is not human?
The performance was part of the I Am Not Tino Sehgal series, which included 30 performances by different artists.