This year at Roskilde festival, you can experience a performance by artist Nana Francisca Schottländer (DK). During three days at the festival Nana Francisca Schottländer will live, sleep, eat and conduct a peaceful, contemplative existence exposed in a glass house in the middle of a busy passage outside the main areas of the festival. She will examine the meetings, exchanges and moments that her presence can provoke amongst the guests at a festival always in a stage of flux. If the encounters are determined by context, then how do we meet each other in this particular space?
We had a conversation with performance artist Nana Francisca Schottländer, after her first day in the glass house, about her experience of the festival so far.
#1. What expectations do you have for your performance at this year’s Roskilde festival?
It’s hard to know, what to expect. It’s very difficult to predict hοw people react to these things. In Nørgaard people were surprised to see/meet a living body and person in the shop window, and this turned out to be an effective way to initiate the interactions and encounters with them. Here in Roskilde, people already pretty much expect anything, so it’s difficult to counter their expectations radically. I think the contrast will be between the quiet, contemplative life inside the house and then the festival madness on the other side of the glass. I hope that this clash will provide a fertile ground for exploring how we meet each other and also ourselves, in this context. But I can’t predict anything.
#2. During your first performance at the danish fashion store Mads Nørregaard in Copenhagen, you spend three days inside the shop window. What, in relation to this performance, made you proceed onwards?
The experience in Nørgaard was very rewarding. Extremely challenging but also reassuring, because I experienced how willing people were/are to relate, to understand, to venture into something and to meet what they don’t understand. This made me want to dive deeper into an exploration of meetings and encounters, of the beauty of the ordinary and the atmosphere or field that human presence can create.
#3. How will the performance at Roskilde festival be different?
(After the first 12 hours) It is different here because people here are already in a state different to ordinary life, and they bend the normal modes of behavior, they are extremely willing to interact and explore, and they already expect the unexpected. I’m overwhelmed by the massive attention this has attracted and am trying to find my feet in it.
#4. How did you get inspired to do the performance, and why a festival?
I find ordinary life deeply interesting and moving, when I’m allowed to watch it, to be absorbed by it. The vulnerability is contagious and I believe that the encounters that can arise from the vulnerability of the ordinary, when it’s exposed and framed, can affect us in minuscule but meaningful ways. It’s interesting to explore how these dynamics work at a festival.
#5. Do you have a special relationship to the festival?
I’ve been here once before, in 2000. That year several people were crushed to death at orange stage. I haven’t been back since then, so to me the festival is both party, state of emergency and death.
#6. Is there a specific reason for the performance to have a continuity of 3 days?
I find that the first 24 hours are a journey in – the journey takes a while and the longer I stay, the more dense my presence becomes, and the more it affects and is affected by the people and the surroundings. The mutual dynamics develop. This takes time. But as for now, in this setup, 3 days are what I am capable of. It’s a quite extreme exposure and I’m very much ‘on’.
#7. Practically, how do you do things like use the toilet, get food or drinks while situated in a glasshouse for three days?
I have supplies with me to last, and then I trade with people and they are very generous. I can pee in a container in the house or go to the toilet. I’m not a captive: the house is the framework and the starting point, but I’m not confined to stay in there at all times.
#8. How do you prepare for the performance in advance? (any special rituals or diets?)
I’m a practicing Buddhist, and I use my practice to deepen my sense of what I want to unfold and to find the courage and strength to do it. And then it’s a lot of practical work setting it all up – with a lot of help from great and talented people. Working with them is also part of getting ready.
#9. What is the future relation between performance art and Roskilde festival? do you see an increasing interest?
I don’t know – I think the combination holds a lot of potential, but performance art is also a quite fragile art form, it requires attention and devotion and I don’t know how long and deep the attention span of the festival guests is. I’m learning as I write…
#10. Will you be attending the festival as a guest after your performance?
Yes, but I may take a break to return.
*Pictures: Kristian Haarløv (2-4), Sara Gangsted, Berlinske (5-6)