Students art performance after
17 December 2014
"How to Burn a Gingko Biloba
Under a Magnifying Glass in a Cold Day in Winter" is a tribute to
scientist, herbal pharmacologist and ecotoxicologist Dr. Pierre
Malychef performed in accordance with The Society of False
Witnesses. I have first encountered the living fossil tree, Gingko
Biloba, in person in the ecotoxicologist's own garden during my
research into "The Blue Barrel Grove" (2014-ongoing) — a project
investigating a toxic waste trade that was delivered in maritime
space between the Lebanese Forces and the Italian mafia in 1987. The
case was abruptly closed in 1995 when the scientist, being one of
the three officially assigned scientists-investigators of the
shipment and its diffusion in Lebanon, was accused and decreed as
false witness for publicly denouncing the fatality of the wastes.
Speaking of death and death claims, he later devised from the yellow
fossil leaves a medicine to aid memory. Performed in broad winter
light with the ecotoxicologist's own magnifying glass in reference
to Archimedes' "heat ray", the leaf never caught fire.
The Society of False Witnesses روزــلا دوهــشلا يداــن: is a theatre
company founded by Jessika Khazrik in 2014. Its first member was
scientist and ecotoxicologist Dr. Pierre Malychef who was accused in
1995 by prosecutor Saaid Mirza of being a false witness .
Tell me a story
I sit on a chair in nature infront of a mirror, my eyes folded
with a black ribon and I start to comb my hair
to my left, an empty chair
an invitation to he who wants to tell a story
this work lies between two memories
the memory before 2011 which was the inspiration for my previous
and the memory after 2011. and all human and social changes that
happened in reflection to the political situation in the region
for me, and during my life in Damascus for three years, I didnt
live the war directly
my imagination lived the war
through the stories I heard during my work with Syrian refugees
people's sufferings in days of seige or war
and through the sound of planes and rockets and bombs and
explosions and firing close to my studio.
Take your shoes off
Can I ask you something please ?
Can you stop controlling everything ?
Do you feel comfortable in our bed ?
Our performance was an experiment of interaction between our
intimate place and the public place, a space of intimacy that the
four performers shared, four bodies creating an isolation and
offering a shelter that one may take or refuse, we were
experimenting people’s reactions when they were asked questions
outside and inside the private space, we were ourselves and the
options were entirely open and each one could choose to stay outside
or enter .
Do you want your shoes back ?
In this piece I wanted to explore the idea of cleanliness-
Cleanliness in how we present ourselves physically and cleanliness
in how we present ourselves emotionally on a day-to-day basis
I thought about what objects we use everyday, object that assist in
how we present ourselves to the world, objects secretly, almost
invisibly, vital to upholding our daily routines. What if we
couldn't throw these pieces of ourselves away? What if the
parameters of our self-image had to widen to include those dirty,
unpresentable, secret, pieces of ourselves?
We throw away toilet paper just like we throw away anything else we
no longer have uses for. As soon as we discard an object we treat
that object as if it no longer exists. We treat the piece of toilet
paper, like we treat Styrofoam and, in countries without recycling
systems, like we treat the plastic bottle.
Thinking about the life of an object after it has been discarded
feels abnormal, silly, unnecessary. It's gone, why should we think
about it? But it isn't gone.
Today the human species finds itself at a tipping point- at the
brink of environmental collapse- We must begin changing our
behavior, thinking less about our self-image and more about what we
do to maintain it, we have to start questioning our every day
consumption of discardable objects.We have to begin building new
routines, growing new values, and reimagining our place in the
In this piece I wanted to reverse the way I behave when I'm sad- I
usually blow into a few tissues cry a bit, discard the wet paper,
and walk back into the world of the public eye as if nothing
happened. Here I revisit the pain in my life but instead of hiding
the ugliness, instead of throwing it away, I present it as part of
myself. I present a body that is bound to the objects it uses. In
this performance piece I eat the roll of toilet paper. It is an
exaggeration of an important truth, a truth we routinely ignore.
This truth is that we are forever bound to the objects we use. There
is no such thing as throwing away.