Liberating the Waters, Navigating the Horizon, Being Wind
In her breathing and movement exercises, Genietta Varsi invites us to experience the fluid systems that activate and enervate the human body. These works, exploring channels that bring us closer to the liquid basis of life, also invite participants to explore channels of communication beyond our own porous membranes and the skin of the world. Her didactic, psuedo-anatomical posters and video-tutorials provide guidance on how to “be water, be with water, be from water, be for water,” instructing the viewer to breathe, sweat, and cry, liberating internal liquids that are biological and emotional, intimate to the body, yet suggestive of flows in the world beyond.
These exercises draw on scientific principles such as homeostasis that bridge human and non-human lifeforms. Just as our organisms carry out autonomic processes of flow to maintain equilibrium, so too do rivers, varying their pulsations and flow patterns, delving into their own material memories and seeking always to return to homeostatic balance and to repair the malaises that afflict them, such as pollution caused by industrial and urban development.
Varsi’s video-tutorials, available in Live Streams’ Screening Room, take her diagrams into the realm of performance art, where she guides participants through a series of exercises that delve into the body and its respiratory systems and flows as realms which connect us to existential phenomena and ethical questions. In Birth: Touching the Core, movement and breath work retrace a path to the amniotic environments that nurtured us and that mirror the liquid origins of all life on Earth. In Navigating the Horizon, Varsi invites participants to travel through and experience the body-world as a microcosm of the cardinal points of orientation and matter, between sky and ground, liquid and solid, expanding the everyday act of breathing to settings suggestive of our constant entanglement in the world around us. Finally, in Being Wind the cultivation of a collective, synchronous breath becomes, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, an opening to questions of how our bodies might reconvene in public spaces AWK amid our heightened perception of their porosity.
Genietta Varsi studied sculpture at the Faculty of Art and Design of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima. Through her practice, she researches how matter (bodies) shape and transform the environment with their behaviours and how they are transformed it. Varsi works with multidisciplinary methodologies and tools, combining art, history, medicine, biology, ecology, mechanics, and anthropology to think and unthink the structures and processes of body and knowledge in daily life. With entre—ríos, she has lead breath work exercises that explore continuities between human and liquid flows. Varsi regularly exhibits her work in Peru and abroad, developing research projects in art residencies in Uberbau_House and FAAP Artistic Residency in São Paulo, Brazil, Molten Capital at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo-Quinta Normal in Santiago de Chile, and Delfina Foundation in London.
Artists in Live Streams
Live Streams is curated by Lisa Blackmore (School of Philosophy & Art History and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Essex), Diego Chocano (Assistant Curator of Essex Collection of Art from Latin America/University Art Collections) and Emilio Chapela (Artist and Research Assistant at the University of Essex). This website was built by David Medina.
Art Exchange is the University of Essex’s on-campus gallery dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art from emerging and established international artists. It is directed by Jess Twyman.