Shiogama, Japan February 2020
Shared Lines producers Linda Lee and Audrey Baldwin undertook a research trip to Japan in February to March 2020. Two weeks were spent meeting with local artists and beginning talks for the Shared Lines: Aotearoa tour and exchange for 2021/22.
Due to the coronavirus, the Shared Lines team was prevented from traveling to Shiogama but the exhibition was successfully installed. The group exhibition showcased over 60 works by 34 New Zealand artists at Birdo Flugas gallery.
Although we were not able to stage the planned Deflate performance at Birdo Flugas gallery as part of the Shared Lines: Aotearoa exhibition, the Shared Lines team found a site and audience in Tokyo to showcase a new context specific performance, making use of the materials already in our possession.
Professor Oyobe Katsuhito, Professor Itoku Tsukamoto, International artist Yasuaku Igarashi, Linda Lee & Audrey Baldwin at Brocken Gallery
22 February - 15 March 2020, birdo flugs gallery, 港町2-3-11, Shiogama 985-0116
Shared breath/Alarm Performance in Inokashira Park
In a playful yet poignant public performance, Audrey Baldwin invited members of the public to join in a circle and be part of a reflective, site specific performance at Inokashira Park in Toyko. Addressing the current coronovirus crisis and the fear that often leads to divisiveness and alarm, this ritual used choreographed absurdist humour and ubiquitous materials to unite strangers in shared breath, space and understanding.
Participants were invited to extend out their hands and receive a dollop of hand sanitiser each. This was followed by a single yellow balloon being handed to each person before Audrey joined the ring of participants to lead further actions. Balloon necks stretched, and lungs limbered with a simultaneous breath
taken in and out, the group pushed a single breath into their respective balloons, then inhaled it back in before inflating them. Pausing and using body language to communicate, Audrey instructed the performers to gently hold their balloon of breath to their chests for a moment, twisting them closed, before passing them to their right.
Balloons of breath given over to a stranger, they were then raised skywards and held above each person's head. Necks loosened and mouths stretched - a choir of high pitched squeals was emitted by the balloons, accompanied by giggles and grins across the circle.