Daughter of Serpents' Queen /performative lecture
by Dalia Kiaupaitė
Dalia Kiaupaitė’s ongoing art research project “Daughter of Serpents’ Queen” focuses on the study of intermediate states. It is rooted in the traditional Lithuanian narrative of Eglė, Queen of Snakes. In this story, the characters repeatedly cross the line between the real and chthonic worlds, travel from the land to the depths of the sea and back, eventually turning into trees. In her artistic research, the author asks where its boundaries are here and now, exploring different spaces, different worlds walking right next to us. Walking between reality and otherness by observing yourself and allowing yourself to be observed. How does that create a multifaceted world around each of us? Dalia Kiaupaitė’s performative lecture is the invitation to get to know yourself through the (re)cognition of others. You can listen to a recording of the lecture below:
"The last activity of the first day was Dalia’s performative lecture about her project “Daughter of Serpents’ Queen”. We gathered in one of the rooms where a projection on an empty wall had been set up. Dalia asked us to start walking freely in the space and try and become aware of each other’s presence, by listening to the sounds our bodies were making and initiating eye contact with one another. We heard a sound of a bell ringing, and she explained, that, the next time we would listen to the same sound, we would have to stop and confess to the person closest to us, what we like the most about walking. After that, we were instructed to keep walking until the next bell sound would come up and we would have to stop again. Indeed, when the third bell rang, we stopped and were told to share with the person closest to us the environment/specific location we enjoy walking the most. When we were done talking, the short exercise was completed and we sat on the floor to watch Dalia’s lecture. It was timed to a video projection showing her walking in different parts of Berlin, always during the sunset, always barefoot. There was some narration going on in the video in three languages: German, Lithuanian and English. Dalia put on red high heels and started pacing slowly, back and forth in front of the screen, while talking about her project, explaining that all the locations and routes shown in the video were chosen and indicated to her by different women who had migrated to Berlin from various locations around the world. Each and every walk was significant to the woman that has chosen to share it with Dalia for a different reason. In the video, all the locations seemed familiar to me• I had visited all of them. I have walked Dalia’s walks myself, passing by the exact same spots. The lecture made me think of the urban landscape as a sponge that absorbs emotions, stories, and understandings of stories in different layers. It becomes the stage for our individual experiences and it welcomes their audience that watches, listens to, and interprets them. “Daughter of Serpents’ Queen” is an example of the use of walking as a practice to raise empathy and encourage connection between individuals that share some common experiences and characteristics. Dalia talked about how the stories offered perspective on her own experience as a migrant. For her, walking from east to west Berlin, acted as a metaphor for crossing her own borders, moving from an eastern part of Europe to a more western part, to seek a place to better her living and working conditions. The more I listened to her talking about that, the more I related to my own effort to project a psychological and emotional process of self-discovery and development on the physical act of walking.
When the lecture ended, Dalia asked us to lie down, close our eyes, and imagine a place where we would like to walk at, during sunset. I struggled to find my place. After the first couple of minutes passed, I finally felt a strong urge to be somewhere I have never been before, and walk while the sun is setting."