May 9, 2023

Micro performances with artist Eva Vevere

At the end of April, the 7th session of artist Eva Vevere and mediator Evelīna Andžāne with the students of Jelgava Spīdolas State Gymnasium took place. The pupils were given the task to think of a characteristic movement, gesture or facial expression, as the focus of this lesson was micro-performance or moving self-portrait creation – one pupil was given about 15 seconds to freely express their portrait in video format. Photographer Valdis Jansons helped with the filming process, while Eva Vevere advised and helped the students to relax in front of the camera and enjoy the creative process. It was a challenging and anxious moment for the pupils, with a lot of uncertainty and apprehension about the external image, but as observed, the longer the time in front of the camera, the easier it was for the pupil to approach their body language and unrehearsed emotions, which made them more sensitive and released them from tension. While the pupils were invited one by one to take turns filming the micro performances, the others were given the task of individually drawing a collective identity as a structure on a black sheet, thinking about how the pupils interact with each other as a class, a system or perhaps as an abstract drawing? The task was imaginative, as working with the unusual black paper required effort and a real desire to create a classroom as a whole and yet a puzzle of identities with the neon and metallic coloured pencils provided by the artist. For some, the collective identity as a structure was like spilled petrol that coexisted with a rain puddle, the drops of which are different colours, their shape is similar and their composition seems to come from the same environment, but the drops never connect with each other, as the artist commented. Another pupil, on the other hand, had drawn a horse made up of many different sized cogs, or pupils, each performing a function for a collective purpose. “We are not a collective class,” said one of the pupils to the artist, but when Eva Vevere’s next task was to think of a sound to be recorded at the next meeting as audio material to be played in the background of the video of the pupils’ micro-performances, some groups of pupils started to sing seriously and melodiously, from a light laugh at the performance of patriotic songs, such as the symbol of the General Latvian Song and Dance Celebration “Saule. Pērkons. Daugava”. The 10th grade pupils, on the other hand, were actively thinking about different ways of involving themselves in the creation of sounds, which they had long wanted to realise by recording the scraping of nails along the table, making glass music, whispering, shouting. Sounds that equally express how much they feel united, how much they feel different in the environment in which they realise themselves. What end result to expect? Most unpredictable, but this will be told by the work of the students in their next meetings with the artist.

Photo by Valdis Jansons, Eva Vēvere, Evelīna Andžāne