Linn Cecilie Ulvin / Oslo

Performative Living / 2009

Living one week at the top floor in a tower block in Gropiusstadt has made me feel as if I was the only person in the world. Surrounded by people in similar apartments and tower blocks. A stranger. Only staying for a short while. Knowing that some live their whole lives here, even for generations, still gives me the feeling that everyone must be a stranger here.

I find the flat very quiet. I like quiet places. The outside seems fairly quiet too. I like surroundings where you can walk alone. Like in the woods. This place is nothing like it. This silence has a strangeness to it. Behind the windows, and inside every tower block, there are hundreds of lives. Do they, as I do, feel this quirky absence of people? Do the tower blocks themselves bring anonymity to the inhabitants? The grey tall monsters don’t make you want to give them nicknames, qualities, nor smells. How to differ one from the other? They seem to be like shadows or big clouds that are part of the air for a while, and disappear when you turn your head. Look at that cloud! That shape, it is huge! And look, now it is gone.

There are verandas with strange lights. Verandas that glow in the dark as if they are dressed up for rave-parties. Green fluorescent light to part the insides from the outsides. There are verandas with all kinds of flags, verandas furnished like living rooms. Down the street there is a veranda at the top floor of a tower block, looking like a Chinese take away. Hovering, drifting towards the sky. Red paper-lights swinging in the wind in the forefront of blue heaven. I like the idea of using windows and verandas as your face to the world. Hello! This is who I am.

There is a great potential in tower blocks facing each other, for voyeurs and exhibitionists too. I use the days thinking about developing a performance for two of them. One building would be the stage, the verandas and windows the scenes or chapters. The inhabitants would be the performers. The mirroring building would be used for lighting up the stage. The audience would be sitting on the verandas in the same building, even on the ground, looking up. It would be night. Dark. The buildings and inhabitants would come alive, as glimpses of stories, giants with multiple personalities.

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