Nicole R. Urban
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Reregarding the Known Knowns
Rhythm Incubator
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On Virtue (Dress Breath June)
2014

‘Beware of virtue' says the philosopher Alan Watts, and goes on to quote Lao Tzu, the great Chinese philosopher: 'The highest virtue is not virtue, and therefore really is virtue. But in theory a virtue cannot let go of being virtuous, and therefore is not virtue.'
'[…] The highest virtue is not conscious of itself as virtue, and therefore really is virtue. Lower virtue is so self-conscious that it’s not virtue. In other words, when you breathe, you don’t congratulate yourself on being virtuous. But breathing is a great virtue, it’s living.'

On Virtue (Dress Breath June) is a 15 minute solo performance, mind-game and meditation on a smaller and a greater impossibility, in which the performer repeatedly opens a dress with her own breath. Complex notions of (female) identity, embodiment and vulnerability are explored (and possibly exploited?), leaving the audience with more questions than answers. Being virtuous, being open-minded and thus vulnerable - how to strive for these qualities if doing so results in the opposite? And from the artist's perspective, an impossibility: how to address the topic of vulnerability and openness, how to become it, if the attempt results in the opposite?
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