© LILA Foundation
It was exciting to get invited for the second Kaapi LILA event! The performance poetry was conducted by Heike Fiedler, an author, poet, performer, sound and visual artist from Geneva, Switzerland. Her text installations were particularly interesting as interventions in space. She captured, eliminated, defined and framed various architectural spaces at Nasheman, through text and mark-making.
© LILA Foundation
Through her poetry, Heike makes statements about various questions, such as gender issues or local politics. Broader topics also emerge, across societies, such as the way we treat strangers. My curiosity was caught, as Heike presented details of pieces that she created during her residency in India, and narrated their stories. Through her works, she tried reflecting on her experience here, on the incidents that inspired her process of working, thinking, expressing. It felt like entering a conversation with her, discovering pieces stuck out of one’s memories. The exchange also went into gender issues, her experiences in public spaces in India, her Kochi travel and… her discovery of the sweetest fruit she ever tasted! Heike discussed the story of her poem entitled chapati, dedicated to the maid who worked with her during her stay. Heike feels strongly about the condition of women in India, and what she saw as a crisis that needs to be addressed, also through the arts. As women issues were reflected upon, the audience reciprocated her concern and many questions were raised. How has technology affected the lives of women? How and to what extent can each person still be responsible and stand for one’s own right? Heike argued that, provisions such as reservations and judicial rights can empower women, and that therefore these should not be eliminated from the list of solutions to these issues.
I personally enjoyed how Heike played with text in the space, creating visuals and frames to connect and initiate brief dialogues with the viewer. However, I had my disagreements with some of her positions, especially about the marginalisation of women in society, and security issues, which are always thought to exist outside us. I believe it is our very own responsibility to voice our thinking. She quoted some examples of extreme measures taken to soften this gap, but these may create a deeper gulf in society for both men and women. As artists, it is our responsibility to engage in being in between, and for each of us to become a medium to alteration. For this, we need, indeed, to ask questions and put them in practices, to ourselves and to the world as it goes on violating, rupturing, brutalizing, controlling, snooping on us. But our reflections on violence and repressive structure should be more inclusive of all genders, and discuss many more societal divisions within which we live. Across the audience, support was expressed to both these perspectives.
© LILA Foundation
After a concentrated exchange of thoughts and experiences, Heike moved on to her poetry. She explained that poetry comes to her organically, and for it she uses all her senses. Every time she reads a poem, she explores a new way of interpreting it. She used vocal cord sounds, gestures, expressions, and silence while performing poetry, which was the most delightful moment to witness, as we gradually moved upstairs to grab a bite and a can of beer. And a last donut, to complete this evening oozed with energy!
Heike Fiedler is active in the field of performance writing, the place where art and literature meet. More details here.