Before you see the “Second Body” coming, you hear a strange fluttering sound, like heavy rain drops falling onto a glass roof, yet the sun is shining over Chemnitz. Pedestrians turn around, look slightly perplexed, some smile, some pull their phone out and start recording: 8 bicycles ride into view, a cluster of bikes, more like a body moving through the city. Each bike, with a fleshy colored back wheel. The first and the last rider are dressed in pretty pink, wearing a fleshy cloured hat, one with a pink nipple, the other one with a pink scar. Looking again at the spinning wheels, they could resemble breasts, maybe even nipples.
This is where abstraction and desire collide.
“A diagram that shrinks the world (abstraction)
and lays the ground for the world again (desire).”
These words by Alina Popa, artist and writer, were written shortly before she died of cancer in 2019. Her instructions for a diagrammatic performance guided me through my own cancer diagnosis the same year. Her writing took me into the loophole you fall when staring into the eyes of death and you return out of an arrow slit in the wall deformed and hungry for life. Still suffering my own bodily inflictions, I began to measure the distance between my body from the past and my body of the future. How do you narrate an experience of illness and suffering? How do you transform your personal story into one that connects to others?
Second Body is a diagrammatic performance for 8 cyclists. The Second Body is moving through the city map in accidental pathways, performing 8 choreographies on their 1 hour journey. Subjective time unfolds into bodily duration. The second body performs the kiss, the snake, upside down spin, double flow, circle, double circle and the pause, all done without one word uttered, accompanied by the strangely flapping sound of each back wheel.