The night before the participatory performance MRI MS_upside down, I wore the upside down glasses for the first time.
The wearing time was intentionally short (15-20 min) because I wanted to preserve the alienation effect for the next eve’s experiment. I put the glasses on and started walking around the room, moving and rising up the ladder in the attempt of configuring how my body looks and feels like with a detoured vision. The experience was striking: my head was tense and heavy, my limbs troubled. I thought: “This is going to be the hardest performance I’ve ever done, even more demanding than the 12 hours long performance Exercises in dying as it affects the brain directly.”
When the test was over I had a 15 minutes long phone conversation. I wanted to share some insecurities about the experience, but encountered difficulties in formulating comprehensive sentences. My linguistic skills went lacking. I was stuttering – a dysfunction I’ve never had problems with, in everyday life – and showing signs of dyslexia: inverting the position of certain letters in words, another dysfunction I am not affected by normally.
Nonetheless, my prognosis about the event MRI MS_upside down was incorrect! The research experiment ran even too smoothly, leaving no space for unexpected outbursts of creativity or insight. My embodied brain was already accustomed to an upside down vision of reality and the curious shock of the eve before could not be repeated again.
Can this not be taken as a tangible proof of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to modify its connections and re-wire itself?
(Written by Jatun Risba in the weeks and months following the performance)
The participatory research event ‘MRI MS_Upside down’ at Rampa Lab (Zavod Kersnikova) ended with a Dionysian subversion of cultural codes. Jatun Risba was running and falling among the gathered people in the corridors at Kersnikova 4, who were patiently waiting in front of Kapelica Gallery closed doors for the inauguration of an exhibit that ended up postponed until further notice. About the action, Risba states:
“Artists of self cannot turn their backs to the contradictions and opportunities that inhabit our social scape. Since they’ve trained their thinking body to awareness and inspired responsiveness, they would rather not numb impulses. They would rather not pretend not to see, listen or feel. My action that followed the ‘MRI MS_Upside down’ participatory event can be regarded as a hic et nunc art intervention that aimed to foster awakening and its embodiment in worldly life.”
Project is supported by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana and Student Organization of the University of Ljubljana.