Cristiana Zeta Rolla


Careful, as if crossing a frozen river.

Alert, as if aware of danger. Respectful, like a guest.

Yielding, like melting ice.

Simple, like uncarved wood.

Empty, like a valley.

Trying to understand is like straining to see through muddy water.

Be still, and allow the mud to settle.

Remain still, until it is time to act.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 15

What is shared between artist and audience while a performance piece takes place? What is on stake? What is so strong to be able to trigger a reaction on both sides? Where does the meeting occur? EMPATHY. Empathy is the “non-place”, the soothing space-in-between in which engagement is created. Empathy does not require any physical exchange. Empathy doesn’t even ask for eye contact. Empathy is pure energy. Empathy is sharing. Empathy is magic. The artist, on a dark floor, surrounded by a rational net of perfectly aligned rocks, sits still in silence. On the background, a noise of rocks randomly hitting other rocks plays continuously. Life happens. We can’t pretend to control every aspect of it, let alone to understand it. Rather, we can sit and learn how to peacefully accept and deal with it, letting it flow. This is something we all experience. It’s the human condition. The audience, while witnessing to the video and experiencing at the same time the violent sound of the hitting rocks, is targeted by two different stimuli. Two senses are triggered: sight and hearing. Sight is pleased with a soothing image, while hearing is menaced by a harsh sound. This is aimed to create a sense of uncomfortableness that leads the audience, through empathy, to identify with the subject of the video.

“I sense, beyond the disarticulation of sense. I’m the desperate try to achieve the non-achievable through fake perfection. But something always manages to break the surface. I AM THAT CRACK. I am not beauty. I am the scream that occurs.”