Lina Hermsdorf »The Best Answer You Can Give Is Symmetry«

Lina Hermsdorf, »The Best Answer You Can Give Is Symmetry«, performed by Andrew Hardwidge

Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 7 & 8pm

The Best Answer You Can Give Is Symmetry
Episode IV

»The Best Answer You Can Give Is Symmetry« could be understood as a quote. In the introduction to his book »Mind and Nature – A Necessary Unit«, the American biologist, anthropologist, and philosopher Gregory Bateson asked his students for ways to identify living creatures. After some musings and the examination of a crab, they proposed that symmetry and the balanced distribution of duplicate body parts was a key pattern uniting living things. It was not the first time that Bateson had dealt with symmetry. In 1930, he developed the concept of schismogenesis (division into opposing factions) that investigated problematic patterns of behavior in small groups. A symmetrical schismogenesis is a competitive relation between equal partners.

»The Best Answer You Can Give Is Symmetry« takes this conceit and folds it around its methods. The piece adapts with each new environment and responds to the architectural situation that it encounters. The self is shown as evolving, artificial and confused, a constantly changing and (un-)learning entity. Only the monologue structure of the work holds its parts together. The choreography of the performer seems to be only partly scripted, animated in the moment. By means of the architectural separation of performer and viewer, the performer becomes an object, a specimen that is observed by the audience. Or is the audience exhibited and examined? This very tension and symmetry opens up a discussion that Hermsdorf is familiar with from theatre (she previously studied at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen). It becomes evident why the artist is interested in Gregory Bateson's theories as a way to continue the examination of the borderlines between the living and the lifeless that runs through her work. Hermsdorf manages to create a division that separates, and yet integrates, performer and audience. The progressive migration between theatre and the fine arts, the superimposition of stage and exhibition space, is not only the subject matter of »The Best Answer You Can Give Is Symmetry« – it is its nature.
Fabian Schöneich

The performance programme at YL is organised by Adam Linder.

Yvonne Lambert
Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 45, 10178 Berlin
Wed – Sat: noon – 6pm