The Waiting Room is a performative situation where the participants experience and explore encounters between strangers. Before I went to the Waiting Room, I experienced feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and also more positive ones, like excitement. In everyday life, waiting is not something that people do just for the purpose of it, it’s something that needs to be done because you are waiting for something else. And usually when you wait, you have a pretty good knowledge of what is to be expected once your wait is over. In this case, I didn’t know, and that added a special feeling to the waiting.
When I first arrived at Flutgraben (Kunstfabrik), I had to stand in line, walk up to a desk, identify myself to recieve a bunch of papers to fill out, and then was asked to sit down and wait. And that’s how it was; the participants waited, got called to another desk and then showed to a room. All and all, there were thirteen different interview situations, after more than three hours at The Waiting Room I made it through five of them. All created in a various nature, which made it very unpredictable. My first interview started with me knocking on a door and a man on the other side asked, “Come in or stay?” I decided to enter, and the questions continued in the same way, two men looking straight into my eyes, being very close, and always giving me the choice of two options: “Poor or sexy?”, ”Kreuzberg or Schöneberg?”, ”beauty or intelligence?”, all while they where writing on a typewriter. The whole experience was intense and ended with the participant recieving a grade and a review of how they percieved you.
Three of the other interviews were focused on research. It was about the participants’ ideas of performance art, about technology, email and the connections between patience and social life. Plus, one interview regarding the narrative ideas we have in a society and what kind of idea the participant would like to get rid of. As a participant, I think you decide how much you want to learn and experience, because most of the questions are based on the thoughts and ideas of the persons being interviewed.
The interaction that for me was most out of my comfort zone was when I was invited to sit in a red fluffy chair, and there turned out to be a person inside. One could actually feel the chairperson’s legs while sitting there, with just fabric between us. The chair sang a song to me and asked if such an act was art. I told the chair I would get back to it as soon as I truly understood what is art- however, I still don’t have an answer.
The Waiting Room was produced by Dmitry Paranyushkin and Diego Agulló, with the participants Clement Layes, Peter Stamer, Isabel Lewis, Gabriel Shalom, Andrea Goetzke, Ana Monteiro, Irina Mueller, Agata Siniarska, Lan Hungh, Lea Martini, Andre Wunstorf and Daniel Almgren.
The next Waiting Room will take place on the 25th of August 2012.
Blog entry by Marie-Louise Crona in Berlin; Monday, Jun. 25, 2012.