Stefa Govaart

So much in love with nothing

Dear —, Letters labor with an ambition to devise an addressee--at once everyone and no one--in a serialized practice of (dis)attachment. Let’s deal with the grammar inside of structures of address: the fantasies involved in the genre of the epistolary, its economy of exchange, the disobedience of non-reciprocity, the commotion of transaction. Do you think this letter is for you? It precedes you, impresses itself upon you, injuriously names you, subordinates you to its syntax. You are fed, staged, aggrieved. The letter is a lion, we must shoot the lamb together. Love, —.

Stefa Govaart performs Love me mort, letters written over the course of the last three years. The title suggests that love is a structure of relentlessness. The French word for dead (mort) metonymically and nearly homonymically substitutes the comparative adverb “more”. The cumulative logic of the comparative (more) and the teleological sense of mort merge. In love we find ourselves “shattered” [“en éclats”], thinks philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. I love you too does not follow I love you. Don't suppose that love is reciprocal. The articulation of the transformation of thought materially transforms us. The performance contains five sections: Sentence, Essence, Woman, Negation, and finally, Sex.

Selma Selman performs Dear Omer, I am not your friend I am your enemy. Selma is addressing Omer, but the audience does not know whether Omer is a fictional character, a deity, or an acquaintance, a brother, a lover, her homme fatale. Evidently, Omer personifies the patriarchy itself, the world we were born into, not the world we chose. Selma’s voice is angry and breaks at times, at other times is decisive and reproving. What remains is poetry, as Selma urges the world, urges Omer, to listen. Selma is not speaking to us, or at least not only to us who came to watch her perform, but to someone who’s not here, and they should be — to an imaginary figure of power that does not know about her work yet; a figure that, in other words, bears no empathy for it. He has no idea. (excerpt of text by Natalija Paunic)