Nonfiction of Levitation

 

Lecture-performace

 

August 10, 2013, Kosmica 2013, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, Mexico.

June 7, 2011, Kosmica 4, The Arts Catalyst, London, UK

 

Levitation – between the worlds of mythologies, science fiction, poetry, magic, science and technologies — has been perhaps the most dreamed and desired invention. In its enormous variety of incarnations, from the purest lightness of angel to diamagnetic levitation of living matter, there is something profoundly contagious about it, and no wonder its opposite, gravitation, is one of the greatest mysteries of physics (and I’d dare to say of experience) to be solved. Yet, when it comes to the tangible reality⁠, one can barely say more words than a merely body’s floating without any physical contact with solid ground or suspended in the air — what is it like to levitate. Avoiding fantasies, myths, pseudo-science and even physics (at least partially), as well as allegedly weightless phenomena like OBE, aka out-of-body experience, astral projection, and the imagination (although I believe it deserves a rigorous scrutiny), in this lecture I attempted to bring the floating ideas of levitation to the ground. With the help of six assistants and a custom designed strap harness system I performatively simulated various contemporary levitation technologies — flesh hook suspension, neutral buoyancy, aerodynamic hovering, free fall, orbiting. And in doing so, had drawn various perceptual ‘blueprints’ of lightness in terms of ‘naked’⁠ experience, or simply put, how the absence of gravitational burdensomeness is being perceived.

Performing Nonfiction of Levitation at Nida Art Colony, 2015.
Photo: Andrej Vasilenko
A bodystorming session by Julijonas Urbonas.
Photo: Aistė Valiūtė and Daumantas Plechavičius
Performing Nonfiction of Levitation in "Kosmica", Mexico City, 2013.
Photo: Edgar Fibela