Nicole R. Urban
Reregarding the Known Knowns
On Virtue (Dress Breath June)
‘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?