What if we borrow each other’s absence or presence for a narration, a confrontation... - Performance by Lina Issa and Maja Bekan

Afbeelding Maja Lina

What if we borrow each other’s absence or presence for a narration, a confrontation... Performance by Lina Issa and Maja Bekan


This event brings together the experiences of three persons; Maja, Lina and Peter and reflects on the notions of identity, construction of the self and methods of working and exchange.

Exercising the self through displacement and service, the protagonists will engage in different roles.
Lina, the artist, takes the place of Peter, a retired coach in ‘self management’, in his meditation session with Sandra in Houten. Meanwhile, Peter himself will meditate at home, letting go of his original and known session techniques.
Maja, the artist, asked Lina to take her place as a baby sitter in Wassenaar. Meanwhile, Peter will be coaching Maja in the office she constructed at the Van Abbemuseum, on how to be in the ‘here and now’and  
how to choose priorities and how to focus, as a key to be more productive at work.

Lina Issa (Lebanon, 1981) is an artist based in Amsterdam. Her work revolves around issues of place, otherness, kinesthetic embodied memory and the performative element of (cultural) identity. Her experience as a migrant and her longing to meet ‘the other’ both inside as outside of herself, inform and inspire her artistic practice to a great extend. The focus in her work lies mainly on the physical aspect of displacement as she literally places herself in different situations. By doing that she creates conditions for relations to unfold and thereby encountering different fictive and real subjectivities. Lina’s work questions they way in which we imagine, construct and (re) enact our subjectivity. Prior to the Piet Zwart Institute| Masters in Art, Rotterdam (’05-’06) she was a researcher at the Jan Van Eyck Academy, Maastricht (‘03-‘05).

What if, if i take your place is an on going project by Lina Issa. In different cities, Lina is placing an advertisement in the newspaper asking people to allow her to takeover their place in one situation or another of their life. For an hour, a day, a week…
The artwork often carries a tension between the personal and the universal, and takes different forms like performance, photos, and text. In a simple and social setup that she creates, Lina invites the people she has replaced, to tell together with her about their different motives and experiences through out the process in the presence of an audience. Her setups allow the fragile and intimate, yet confronting and generative qualities of the experiences to be voiced and shared.

P for Performance is part of an ongoing project by Maja Bekan, entitled Secret Powers for Identity, Security and Self-respect in Troubling Times. The performative events aim to be an open platform for investigation and to critically engage into the investigation of the artist’s role as a producer and advertiser. One might take various roles – as a performer, participant or spectator in order to contribute to this research. The events envision an encounter of the guests among each other and with the works (performances, imagery/objects, lectures and talks). The participants of this enquiry are invited to take over different positions: whether one is a moderator, explorer, presenter or a visitor to the place.

What if we borrow each other’s absence or presence for a narration, a confrontation... is part of :