Nikola Benčová (Czech Republic)
bio: Nikola Benčová is a poet, performer and researcher whose main focus and practice lies in changes in identity in both the human and non-human worlds. She combines ideas from the fields of environmental studies, deep ecology, politics, sci-fi, psychology and poetry, focusing mainly on connecting with other bodies. Her experiments with materiality in sculpture, Vipassana and other embodied practices have led her to research questions lying within words. After her first exhibition “overgrown with moss and becoming a forest themselves” at MAP gallery in collaboration with Marcela Schneiberková, she completed her Masters at KASK School of Art in Gent. She is currently concentrating on becoming an independent storm and wind researcher whilst working in a bakery in Prague.
performance: a forest that became all eyes: Abuela. Boka. Xibalba.
Is a book that I read becoming a part of my body? Is it someone foreign stepping into me? Shall education be based on books and written text? And what is the real connection between books and grandmothers? How can we work with the physicality that lies beyond text? Has text have the same quality when the writer’s body still breathes? Or does some hidden materiality of it change when she dies?
Based on the text from a human author whose body already vanished Ursula K. Le Guin, an 1 improvised collective performance “a forest that became all eyes or Abuela. Boka. Xibalba.” becomes a place for words in darkness where the memories of grandmothers turn into something other than human. Songs and whispers, or long silences that are essential for the materiality of such encounters, from a body of the performer to other present bodies even the invisible ones. Each participant is asked to bring his/her own blanket, ideally one which was a gift from a grandmother.