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Between the living and the dead

Site-specific performance
30 minutes approx.

This performance was a site specific response for the project Texting Being at Theertha International Performance Platform, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The site I chose to interact and perform had a series of butcher shops in one of the main market complex at Borella junction. These shops were illegal settlement under a government building where a variety of meat is sold from morning to late evening every day.

(Because of its illegal presence documentation of the whole performance was not allowed.) 


For more than two years now, I have been exploring five senses through my performance and installation pieces. Encountering and questioning our senses is an act of positioning oneself in this contemporary socio-political matrix which is undergoing constant erosion of sensibilities.


I am a vegetarian.

I have never touched flesh in my life.

I chose to work with dead meat/flesh and a site which produced chopping sound, flesh odor, blood-stained walls illegally is to position my self in the socio-political situation I live in.


Killing openly has become a power statement. Taking law in hand in the name of religion, caste, gender is normalized. We are constantly monitored for the choices we make for a living. From chopping flesh to covering them over my sense organs for a person who has never touched flesh is to question where these politically imbalanced situations are leading us.


Using texts as an extension of the performance I invited my viewers to stamp ‘eyes to see’, ‘nose to smell’, ‘tongue to taste’, ‘ear to hear’ & ‘skin to touch’ with blood on my body. The action of stamping on my flesh left blood stains on my body and their hands. The action of stamping is a reminder of our indirect involvement with the contemporary political instability around us. We cannot forget the fact that we live in between the living and the dead now.

A 21-second video link from the performance of people stamping: 


A 21-second audio link to the sound of the site:

Arpita Akhanda_work_04 (d).jpg
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