The “Guided Meditations” by Zuzanna Bartoszek are a series of expanded poetry performances that employ intimate confession and self-exposure.
In these performances, Zuzanna Bartoszek’s pre-recorded voice delivers her own poems, while the she stages gestures, actions and stillness in the space. Her soothing voice and deceptively casual tone, guides the audience as witnesses through a psychic topology of her internal dimensions. The visitors are caught between being voyeurs to an internal monologue and implicated customers of a service, in which they are seduced to evoke and experience subtly violent images of anxiety and alienation. The shifting registers of addressee and addressed, attempt to trouble the interior and exterior and split the subject, both of the author and the visitors. Witnessing her voice separated from her body, the performer is at once alienated from and saturated with her own words.
Through subtle costumes and minimal props, Bartoszek stages herself as a character who is a clown, a baroque poet and spa worker or client – a surface of desire leaking with anxieties of finitude. Her words and actions quietly and seamlessly move along the structures of fetish, as an erotics of lack, disavowal, death. Here, the spa-like guided meditation is a substitute. „The substitute also functions as a mask, covering over and disavowing the traumatic sight of nothing… It represents a memorial, marking the point of lack… This fragile carapace shares the phantasmic space of the fetish itself, masking the site of the wound, covering the lack with beauty.”
The measured voice and the subtly seductive aesthetics are latent with the mechanics of anxiety and alienation. The soft sexuality of the guide, the voice and the textures of the staging, displace this anxiety and alienation, which nevertheless return as made manifest in the elisions and condensations of her playful language and gestures.
Photos by Laura Schaeffer