Jianan Qu:
A Gentle Rawness

Jianan Qu writes a collection of thoughts on ways of sharing, receiving and accepting in the context of performance art.

Before any kind of exchange, I think about being, seeing and feeling. Just how things are, how we are, instead of thinking of a position or a function, or a job or a projected image. None of all that. Just be.

Being is not only the result but also a preparation. Preparation for feeling the outer and the inner.
You → you. You → others.
That makes it an easier access to an honest sharing, physically and mentally. Exchanging how it is instead of how it could be.
In any case, being is mental as well as physical.

I consider being as going back to a neutral position, to see/exchange without additional masks. It is rather a passive way of actively exchanging; it is the base.

Being is also about respecting feelings. I am not sure if feelings start with body or mind, but if we assume for a moment that they start within the body, what does your body tell you when you are next to others? People, objects, matters, environments… What information do you receive from them, and how do they influence your connection to others?
This exchange is learning.

Before going on stage, a performer, asks him/herself:
Am I ready?
Am I confident?
Am I relaxed enough?
Am I who I’m supposed to be?
When audiences see the performer, does it feel natural or fake?
Do they question his/her way of being?

Look at some other beings here: the walls, floor, table, lights, maybe a glass of water or a sheet of paper… Try to ask them the same questions. (Note: Do it)
See how relaxed they are, how confident they are, how natural, how unquestionable. The performance is «being».

Less intention or desire offers much more, much more than an intended receiving or sharing. It is probably more real than any kind of trying. Being is performing; exchanging is the performance. Who isn’t a performer?

No matter if you are aware or not, we are all involved. When I sit on a chair: I am related to this chair. When I look at a piece of paper: paper and me…
It is not about being active or eye-catching – an eye catcher being more visible. It’s sad if people only see what’s visible and ignore the «calm» ones. Can we see or feel something only when it wins a competition to be catchy? Or does it mean the «calm» ones are in the serving position?

The basis of a good exchange is to be ready.
We are givers and receivers at the same time.

A list of words
(shards of the same vase):

Doesn’t matter
100% or more, or less
1 + another real 1 = 1

Clothes represented a material?
More through less
Feeling, knowing
All directions at the same time

The moment
Something deeper than the moment

Body is mind
Try not trying
Confidence – Maybe not, or why not

Give space a space
Another almost
Mess and order
All means
Multi perspective

No one needs your help
Who likes to listen?
Projector, illusion
Feel right
Use to be
Somehow the objects are always ready

Two exercises:
(Note: Judgement makes everything harder)

Place your hand on any part of your body (I take the face), relax, feel the connection and be there for a while. Now, try to find out: is the hand connecting to the face, or the other way around?
Taste the feelings of this exchange.

Second: Choose an object. It should not provoke your mind or excite you in any way –
maybe a table, a pan, a cup, or a piece of paper… relax, look at it for a while, no intentions no judgments.
Be open to being connected.

Important: When you are looking at the object, do you let it look back?

Erstpublikation des Textes in Art Education Research, März 2017, Jg. 8 (13).