It Wasn’t Me Who Stole the Show
In sign language, the entire body from the waist up performs articulatory functions. In addition to signs articulated with the hands, non-manual signals are equally important and are often responsible for the grammatical layer in sign language. The artistic community sees sign more as a means of expression than as a grammatical element. Unfamiliarity with sign language means that the audience, listening to and watching art that uses sign language, gives the signers and expressing bodies their own meanings and takes over the images. They do not listen to the voice of the performer but draw attention to his manner of expression. Being unaware of this, they make the human being an object of voyeurism, or a memetic figure. In “It Wasn’t Me Who Stole the Show”, the body becomes the stage on which the show is played out, with the “signing” performer taking on the role of an artistic object on which it is “pleasant to fasten one’s eyes on”. This voyeurism and being a source of pleasure is the starting point for the performer, who reveals to the audience the drive nature of their visual responses and makes them realise that they themselves can also be watched by others. As in his other performances, Daniel Kotowski reveals to the audience the hidden rules of the relationships we share.
Text by the curatorial team Justyna Lipko-Konieczna, Justyna Wielgus
performance: Daniel Kotowski
costume: Wisła Nicieja
video: Wojciech Kaniewski
Project realised within the framework of the “Pokaż język” [Show Language] programme organised by the Centre for Inclusive Art.
The event was held as part of Paweł Althamer’s “Golden Island” project, curated by Joanna Kordjak, realised in partnership with Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, the Praga Museum of Warsaw and the Municipal Zoological Garden in Warsaw.
photo credit Alicja Szulc