I was first introduced to Helene Vosters's work in one of those weird and serendipitous moments of connectivity. After giving a paper from my current research--something I'm calling the Collapsible Commons--several audience members did me the kindness of asking Real Questions. You know, those rare questions that are both supportive of your work and push you to think harder and better about what it is you're trying to say. Dream questions. One asked me about vulnerability. Another asked me to think about layered history and layered space. In the hallway another audience member came up to me and suggested I look at Vosters's work. "I think she's really interesting," she said. She was right.
Helene Vosters is a performer and a performance scholar. She has an MFA in queer and activist performance from the New College in California and is currently pursuing PhD studies in performance at York.
On July 1, 2010 Vosters started Impact Afghanistan War. The concept was simple: fall down in public one hundred times a day for a year. In her artistic statement Vosters writes that each fall represents a death in Afghanistan. Unlike the Canadian military personnel who have lost their lives in Afghanistan there have been no accurate records kept recording Afghani deaths. This is not an oversight.
Impact is an attempt to "reach beyond the numbness produced by abstract numbers, political debates and media spectacularization" she writes. "It is my attempt to register, through my body, the impact of our (Canada's) engagement in Afghanistan. In a larger sense, it is an inquiry into empathy."
You can watch Helene fall here.