Through the object of the knife, Trieb explores the logic behind the action of cutting. The capacity to think rationally or think ‘sharply’ is what historically separated the Human from the animal and other categories. At the occasions when we say that someone has a sharp hearing or sharp vision, natural language demonstrates how sharpness and goodness are used coextensively in reference to perception. Thus, the sharpness with which the knife slices through matter resembles the order of cognitive processes that are at work when we engage with our environment by means of sense perception.
Throughout the history of Western thought, body and mind have been placed at the opposite ends of the spectrum of cuttability- material body as infinitely divisible and immaterial mind as essentially indivisible. The body “contains” the mind and thus they are inseparable, even though the exact place where the body ends, and the mind begins can be rather unclear. Trieb takes up this canonical “problem” of Western philosophy and reexamines it through poetry, animation and movement.
In the work, Liza Baliasnaja performs a thought experiment in which the unity of body and mind is substituted with the one of body and knife. She examines what happens when the immaterial mind which seems to work like a knife is actually looked at as if it was a graspable object with specific physical qualities. She asks what does it mean to think and sense like a knife and what are the material consequences of conceptualizing thinking as cutting.
The performance offers a journey of cutting through language, through body, through fabric, through paper that discovers, and bursts open the potential for an unusual order of things, for incision and insertion of new meaning. Trieb, which is german for drive, desire and instinct, becomes the force behind the knife-mind that wants to test cut all that appears on its way including one’s own sense of the self.
Idea and performance: Liza Baliasnaja Sound: Jokubas Cižikas Artistic advising: Stefan Govaart, Alissa Šnaider and Laura Stellacci Animation: Liza Baliasnaja together with Federico Vladimir Strate Pezdirc Costume: Laura Stellacci Scenography: Liza Baliasnaja, Machteld Lambeets and Laura Stellacci Project support: Lithuanian Council for Culture Co-production: Workspacebrussels and Kunstencentrum BUDA Residency support: Kanuti Gildi Saal, Workspacebrussels, Kunstencentrum BUDA, Kunstenwerkplaats, Theatre Balsamine