When I was a very rich man (on “Life and Strive”)
The artistic project “Life and Strive” by the two young Berlin-based artists Anat Eisenberg and Mirko Winkel takes us on a journey into the world of the richest representatives of the global society. Our group consisting of 8 people (max allowed is15) was taken on an arranged meeting for buying apartments in the tallest building in Istanbul located in one of the most luxurious and fast growing parts of the city. Each member of the audience was advised to take on an identity of a potential buyer with an imagined, but still close to reality, biography. After the arrival we’ve been welcomed by a well-dressed salesman who didn’t spare time and energy to explain us in details all the specific characteristics of the building. And there was much to tell – from the state of the art eco-system that preserves 20 per cent of the energy to a golf course on the 38th floor and garden in the apartment. The price was such that probably none of us could ever be able to afford – from 1.7 to 7.8 million US dollars depending on the size, east-west exposure or which floor the apartment is on. This whole almost surreal experience lasted a little over an hour until one of the authors, still in the role of a “freelance agent”, called us to leave because our bus was waiting. Of course, no one made any deal about buying an apartment.
This work raises so many questions on the line of what is “performative”, where is the performance and who is it aimed at that one may think that we are dealing with an ingenious work here. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It is only one of many attempts to transfer performance from specialized places into the public sphere and into everyday life. Nevertheless, the future participants of the “Life and Strive” project will have a memorable experience that will last for a long time.
By Dean Damjanovski