Through the object of the knife, Trieb explores the logic behind the action of cutting. The capacity to think rationally or think ‘sharply’ is what historically separated the Human from the animal and other categories. On the occasions when we say that someone has a sharp hearing or sharp vision, natural language demonstrates how sharpness and goodness are used coextensively in reference to perception. Thus, the sharpness with which the knife slices through matter resembles the order of cognitive processes that are at work when we engage with our environment by means of sense perception.
Throughout the history of Western thought, body and mind have been placed at the opposite ends of the spectrum of cuttability- material body as infinitely divisible and immaterial mind as essentially indivisible. The body “contains” the mind and thus they are inseparable, even though the exact place where the body ends, and the mind begins can be rather unclear. Trieb takes up this canonical “problem” of Western philosophy and reexamines it through poetry, animation and movement.
In the work, Liza Baliasnaja performs a thought experiment in which the unity of body and mind is substituted with the one of body and knife. She examines what happens when the immaterial mind which seems to work like a knife is actually looked at as if it was a graspable object with specific physical qualities. She asks what does it mean to think and sense like a knife and what are the material consequences of conceptualizing thinking as cutting.
The performance offers a journey of cutting through language, through body, through fabric, through paper that discovers, and bursts open the potential for an unusual order of things, for incision and insertion of new meaning. Trieb, which is german for drive, desire and instinct, becomes the force behind the knife-mind that wants to test cut all that appears on its way including one’s own sense of the self.
Liza Baliasnaja is a choreographer and performer based in Brussels, born in Lithuania. She studied in P.A.R.T.S and is currently completing her degree in philosophy at the university of KU Leuven. Liza collaborated and performed with artists like Ula Sickle, Eszter Salamon, DD Dorvillier, Mårten Spångberg, Lenio Kaklea, Christine de Smedt and Myriam van Imschoot. In the past few years, she has been developing her own choreographic work, performing mostly in non-theatrical environments. Liza teaches practical and theoretical courses at the dance department of Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater. She occasionally writes for publications that focus on theater and choreography.
Idea and performance: Liza Baliasnaja
Sound: Jokūbas Čižikas
Artistic advising: Stefan Govaart, Alissa Šnaider and Laura Stellacci
Animation: Liza Baliasnaja together with Federico Vladimir Strate Pezdirc
Costume: Laura Stellacci
Scenography: Liza Baliasnaja, Machteld Lambeets and Laura Stellacci
Filming team: Kristien Jaspers, Vince Peeters
Project support: Lithuanian Council for Culture
Co-production: Workspacebrussels and Kunstencentrum BUDA
Residency support: Kanuti Gildi Saal, Workspacebrussels, Kunstencentrum BUDA, Kunstenwerkplaats, Theatre Balsamine
Special thanks to Nicola Airo, Theo Livesey, Christine de Smedt, Amanda Barrio Charmelo and Simon Baetens