Encounters: Damir Bartol Indos
The Spirit on a Bicycle
Street performances raise the intellectual level and push forward the threshold of social tolerance, people have to be tolerant towards a work of art they encounter on the street
I presume the inspiration for the performance comes from your long history of cycling?
Yes, I thought of all my cycling which has different levels, sometimes it is heroic, sometimes painful, sometimes I feel humiliated, sometimes elevated and dignified. It also depends on external factors, rain, cold, ice and then there are the close encounters with cars or the terrible sound of a pack of cars starting up behind me at the traffic lights. I thought: I should make a performance with this and capitalise the energy I have used up riding consistently and fanatically on the streets of Zagreb over the last ten years. I am aware of the dangers and possible tragedies in this activity. I have set myself up as a target here. At the end of the catalogue I express my gratitude to all those who did not make use of their capacity to deliver the final blow to my life.
You have done many street performances also. I remember your enactment of a street murder. What is your experience with street performances?
It is difficult to perform in the street, but it is a very valuable experience. You are in fact fighting against 98% of passers by who think it is not normal, that it is madness. You have to convince them that it is clever and good. Last year I performed "Laika", and recently I performed some parts of Rough Ride. It was interesting because people would begin a dialogue with me and there were some very fruitful conversations. They realised that this was about the apocalyptic automobile industry, about damaging the ozone layer, about tragedies, about disabilities, about families devastated by road accidents. Many recognised and sensed this.
A SHAMANIC INSTINCT
In Damir Bartol Indos's performance 'Rough Ride or Of the Soul' the audience follows the thought processes of an animal caught in a hunt, trying to find a satisfactory explanation of the situation it has found itself in. In Indos's case the setting is urban and the situation is that of a cyclist riding through the streets of Zagreb, or other, bigger cities."What will my killer be like, what will his name be?"is the question Indos screams, but the answer is not the name of drivers, but of various makes of cars.
The expected collision of his 'skin head' and the silver-blue metal as the ultimate pressure of technology on man is never explicated. For death, in the ritual of performance, is given only as the drama of the ritual itself, with all of Indos's recognisable tropes: from the heavy meatal instruments to the specificity of his movement.
Through a degenerated poetics of movement and voice, `Damir Bartol Indos reiterates the curses and questions which arise every time an airplane crashes, a ferry sinks or someone looses control of a vehicle in any way. At that moment, after a 'Rough Ride' one starts thinking 'Of the Soul'.