What memory does the space keep? What about the body? What experiences can be recomposed from such memories and what history do they tell? “Isolation in a series of liminal states” is a da performative, visual and architectural emergence that connects fragments of the complex history of Malmaison space with the current body situation. The project talks about the body’s experience in isolation, recomposes the memory of the place and historically recontextualizes familiar bodily states, leaving room for fantasies about the future.
„Isolation in a number of liminal states”Explores the phenomenon of isolation connected with the complex history of the Malmaison building, a former military garrison, political tribunal and temporary detention center for military and intellectuals. It is a collective work that uses extracts from texts by Egon Balas, Mircea Damian, Augustin Vișa or Corneliu Coposu. The project will premiere on November 11 at / SAC @ MALMAISON at 18:00 and will be followed by three other performances on November 12, 13 and 14 in the same space.
At the base of this approach are images, interviews, chronicles and testimonies of the bodies that passed through Malmaison. The team consists of Simona Deaconescu (choreographer), Ramon Sadîc (visual artist), Justin Baroncea (architect), Maria Ghement (architect), Vlaicu Golcea (composer), Mihai Burcea (historian), Bogdan Iancu (anthropologist), Ioana Marchidan (performer), Andrei Bouariu (performer), Georgeta Corca (performer), Simona Dabija (performer), Maria Luiza Dimulescu (performer) and Alex Radu (co-author of curatorial concept and producer). With a few of them we talk below about isolation, what liminal state and Malmaison history mean.
When you first entered Malmaison
Mihai Burcea: Malmaison is one of the most mysterious / bizarre places in the Capital. I was intrigued from the beginning and it arouses a lot of curiosity every time I pull its threshold.
Bogdan Iancu: I will start by saying that I had no idea about the existence of the building until last autumn, when my friends Ramon Sadîc and Virginia Toma, along with other artists, took over a workshop in one of the former IPROCHIM offices. Then, once I entered for the first time in February, this year, I was struck by the sensation of instagramable prison banter, that kind of building-safari perfect for commercials, movies, hipster parties. The reconversion in the mid-1970s into the headquarters of the design institute for the socialist chemical industry discreetly camouflaged, through a specific material culture, the gloomy epidermis reminiscent of prison building regimes but it was impossible not to feel oppressive. I was struck, however, by the feeling that, with few exceptions, the building seemed to have completely escaped post-socialist transformations, a kind of museum without an audience and without hall indications.
Justin Baroncea: I first entered the Malmaison building in the fall of 2011, at a Halloween party. What impressed was the access to the large lobby occupied by a queue that reached from the outside of the courtyard to the entrance on the 2nd floor. linoleum on the floor, sticky and with shards. People danced and roared from room to room. There were film sets left in the halls that “simulated” a detention space. They danced in the hall where the installation “Isolation in a series of liminal states” now takes place.
Malmaison was in 2011 a good place to “rave” and gather people at techno parties without the need for extraordinary arrangements; a place had suddenly (re) appeared on the “cultural” map of the city.
Maria Ghement: The first sensation of my contact with Malmaison was the fascination given by the contrast between its monumentality (an attribute proper to a building representative of political power) and the degree of informality that the artists’ presence imprinted in all its spaces, both interior and exterior. uncertainty and terror. It is as if the victory of free speech over censorship is felt in the corridors and in the garden. I admit that I felt, instinctively, the need to conquer, like everyone else, the center of the garden: the place where I am an old tree and a mast. A place where you feel that you can master, at least with your eyes, the grandeur of space. The Malmaison building is conquered, but with one condition: you have to learn its rules.
Simona Deaconescu: I liked the space at first, I felt a fine energy of the place this summer since I saw / SAC in a completely different form than it is now. I really like the buildings occupied by artists. Just the thought that this is happening in Romania raises my endorphin level. What I like about Malmaison is that it has a special peace, somehow you feel that you can work well there. I think the name Malmaison Workshops is very appropriate in this regard. Even though I am in transit through Malmaison, I am very happy to have the opportunity to work in this context, in a hybrid space, doing a hybrid work.
What does a liminal state mean?
Mihai Burcea: The way you act / react in a state of forced or semi-voluntary closure (see detention or quarantine).
Bogdan Iancu: In the footsteps of some classical anthropologists, I imagine it as a state of between worlds, between epochs, between identities marked by a threshold / device. In the case of Malmaison, such a device looks to me like a metal door on one of the floors that opens with a card. It is a door beyond and beyond which are the stratified artifacts of distant epochs, but in the threshold of which you are filtered by an experience mediated by a device from the universe of recent corporate time.
Justin Baroncea: An intense, intermediate state, which I am aware will have a limited duration in time (I know from the beginning that it will end / consume in a relatively short time). The transitory character and the certainty of the limited duration define (for me) a state as being liminal.
Maria Ghement: For me, a liminal state is the amorphous and confusing space of discomfort caused by change.
Simona Deaconescu: It is a state in the middle, of becoming, one in which a community is constantly transforming, in which nothing is fixed, but fluctuates. I think that, at some level, Malmaison is now in a liminal state. I also believe that we, as a society, find our bodies in this uncertain state, preceded by the health crisis we have gone through in the last two years and fueled by a constant political crisis. I do not know exactly what we are heading for, but, talking to friends and relatives, we realized that we all feel this state between two worlds. Paradoxically, although I am constantly annoyed daily by the lack of coherence and economic and political stability, I feel that we need this crisis to realize once and for all that we need to change both in relation to others and to ourselves and this planet we have drained of resources.
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