don’t dig too deep

“What I like about the physical aspect is, that it is so heavy and you don’t have to kill something.”

Rixta_ImpressionenStill in Amsterdam I met Rixta van der Molen, who studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.
The media she goes for the most, are drawing, video, performance and theoretical works.
Using her body and voice as a form of expression, makes sense to her. It gives the work a deepness and meaning, because processing art with your very own body, is already more intimate and in a way more extreme than for example exposing a painting. You can impact on people emotionally right away.
In performance Rixta finds a way to connect directly with the audience. She is close to them in the very moment when they receive the art. “What I like about the physical aspect is, that it is so heavy and you don’t have to kill something.”
Irony plays a role in her work as well, maybe to balance out the negativity and criticalness, she senses around and sometimes perceives as elite.

“I think I have to translate it. Cause I work more with thoughts.”

Rixta_Prozess3I was already curious about how she would react on the work of  Muha Nad Rasheed, a performance artist himself, and showed her the little, colorful clay-planet.
Muha Nad, who was studying different scientific fields such as physics and cosmology, is particularly curious about the structure of nature and the origin of earth.
Rixta held the little Fimo-planet, he had made the day before, in her hands, felt its weight, played along with it, thinking about how to launch with it.
“I think I have to translate it. Cause I work more with thoughts.”
By translating she meant, that she wouldn’t react on it in a formal, but in a theoretical way.
So she started to think. She drew and wrote down the ideas that came to her mind. The sketches and notes she made with a black marker on white and transparent paper, looked like scientific hypotheses.
In the little microcosm of her room on the top floor, with view over the entire area, it felt a bit like sitting in a space-capsule.
White walls, the tall shelfs stuffed with materials and objects. The sofa, covered by a silver piece of fabric, a little metal star and gemstones in the shelf next to it. The only plant in the room, looked like a souvenir from earth. Outside the window only sky and next to the bed leaned the neon colored hoola-hoop, that would later come into operation.
Meanwhile Rixta wondered about the colors of the marble. They reminded her of geological segments.
Telling her of Muha Nad and his thoughts, brought us to philosophical topics. Rixta likes to think about space, the origin of life and earth. She looked up a quote from Steven Hawking that she remembered, who closed his book “A Brief History Of Time”  with the following idea: “However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”
She liked the idea that he doesn’t deny the existence of an intelligent creator vehemently, “because that would be unscientific”.
Rixta told me that she respects the people who think a lot and dedicate to topics, others usually would avoid. She came up with the phrase “don’t dig too deep”, like a warning from a person that would think that digging in the matter of philosophy and science is “none of ones business”.
She made a few sketches, with phrases like that. She collected a bunch of them, following her own thoughts, getting lead from one meaning to another, continuing, processing, without valuing and without knowing where to end up.


“When you see something, it doesn’t mean you have to understand it.”

She continued thinking about the meaning of the phrase “to see stars”. On one hand, seeing stars means to be knocked out or being in ecstasy, on the other hand, taken literally. Rixta got pulled back to times when people only saw the stars without knowing anything about it.

Rixta2“When you see something, it doesn’t mean you have to understand it.” That way people could make up all those ideas about stars and the universe. Not knowing can bear also many possibilities to speculate and fantasize. The way she said it, gave me the feeling that it can be seen as an opportunity also, not only as a lack of knowledge.
She thought about doing something with the movement of the ball. “Seeing stars” made her think of the old Windows screen saver and objects flying towards her or being thrown at her, like in sports. She came up with the demand “Catch!”.
Rixta continued playing with words. She searched through her note book for more associations and ideas. Then she stumbled over the word “orbit”. She thought about how to realize the movement of orbiting around. She discovered the hoola-hoop that she carried along for some time now, but had never used for anything, yet. It was about time.
Rixta combined her ideas to one short text, that she wanted to use for her performance: “Don’t dig too deep. There will be nobody to catch you. The only thing you can do then, is to orbit around and around.”
She quickly crafted two silver stars to cover her eyes with. The we grabbed the hoop and the camera and looked for an empty space outside to shoot the video.

We found a nice spot around the block and set up. I filmed her with the hoola-hoop circling around her neck a couple of times. After each time she would have a look and change what she wasn’t satisfied with yet, the display window for example, the background or the sound of her voice.
The result was a 30 second long visualization of her thoughts associated with the marble she received. The hoop circling around her head, made me think of something Muha Nad had said the other day. “Sometimes the ideas around the head are more interesting than the ones inside.”
Rixta had combined a few very concrete ideas and created something completely abstract out of it. Her surreal message from outer space, will be passed on to the next person in Brussels, which will, for now, be the last one to meet for the domino project.

See the Rixtas video here.