“Air and Breath I” by Y-Space
By Ewa Zielińska
In Bytom Market Square the pace of life is often hectic.Sometimes people seem cross as they rapidly cross the Square, looking neither to the right nor the left. It's also a place to spend time with friends over a beer. So, something out of the ordinary causes considerable interest and “Air and Breath I” by Y-Space was certainly out of the ordinary, with a large figure bound in what looked like paper struggling with the wind. Some people were so surprised that they closed the doors from a store, in case it rolled inside. A group of children formed a circle around it, perhaps it was the unusally large size that attracted them.
Some walking past the Square stayed for a moment and left. Others pretended not to notice that anything unusual was happening, . But some closely observed each gust of wind and its impact on this huge object rolling around. They concentrated so hard, completely absorbed, despite the monotonous movement.
At first children with fear and surprise asked „what is this?” The adults didn't answer them, but kept a safe distance. The kids came much closer and when they had broken down the barrier of suspicion, they touched it or tried to make it roll.This differentiation by age was broken when an old woman squeezed the head and reported: „its human”; satisfied with her experiemnt, she departed. For a long time, illusion was maintained, but when it became wet and dirty in the rain, the people were sure that it was alive, but the movement was so strange that it still a puzzle.
Many kept their interest, even when it rained..They follow its movement from afar, from concealment, so as not to get wet. Slightly faster movement suggested that the end was approaching. Then it stopped and instead of moving again, a hand appeared, then a second one, as if a new life was hatching. After he was eased from the egg, he very slowly left, as if after travelling a long way, he had decided to return, instead of allowing life to roll by unobserved. . The white costume may not have an intended meaning, but for me it symbolised a „tabula rasa” and a new life.
You might thnk that a two hour performance during which „ nothing ” happens, must be very boring. But something different happens. The slow movement means that our thoughts could gallop ahead at ease and with the rhythm of our breath. The most interesting aspect was the emotions expressed by the audience: loud comments, sometimes funny or sad, occasionally aggressive. It showed how children can understand art - for them it's natural, that art can be fun, caprice. It does not have to be a high-flown and very serious domain of life.
It is proper to stop sometimes, in a well-known area , to relax and allow time for yourself . Even in the prosaic ordinariness of our everday surrounding, things can turn out considerably more curious than we might think. Y-Space disturbed the rhythm of the city, it persuaded people to stop, observe , be intrigued, and sometimes express their emotions aloud. During this time, the performance transformed life in Bytom.