Something in the Air

The Amsterdam poet and performance artist Justin Samgar took a keen interest in what happened to human behavior during the lockdowns of 2020. As people were forcibly kept away from the ordinary human intercourse they had previously taken for granted, there was an explosion of many things: unrest and polarization, along with ‘tinder lust’ and a powerful ‘desire for skin’. As always with human sexuality, the forbidden became alluring.

Samgar articulates this in a video performance of his poem ‘Er Hangt Iets in de Lucht’ (There’s Something in the Air), directed by Leandra Arjona-Jacobi, that achieves its full effect from the combination of the timbre of his own voice reading it, the background music and a sequence of imagery that ends with something especially interesting to us. He describes it as:

A story that shows that the drive, unrest, depression, madness, frustration, powerlessness or anger that is currently experienced by many people is not so crazy after all. We live in a bizarre and unprecedented situation, which has caused most of us to do things that we normally wouldn’t do. Whether that is good or bad, boring or exciting, it is above all human.

There are several other performers in the video but the most relevant one for our purposes is Emma Maes:

Don’t worry, she won’t get away with that…

Honestly, she won’t… But of course under lockdown protocols, she’ll have to be masked. And he’ll need to avoid direct skin-to-skin contact too, by wearing a rubber glove.

Here’s the video:

If you are interested in Justin Samgar’s work, please visit his website.

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