Still missing - 9 November 2019

(developed in the Bitamine Faktoria Artist in Residence, Irún, Spain)

‘Still missing’ is a participatory performance based on a Basque ethnography instrument, called ‘argizaiola’. I made several drawings of this Basque funeral object and created an online platform to present them in a web gallery. The people who wanted to participate in the final performance had to choose one design from the platform. For each participant I created a copy based on their selected design, out of bread dough. I asked them to think about a message they would like to send someone or something what is no longer in their life or, what/who they would like to mourn. On the day of the performance I also asked the attendants to write their message on a long (biodegradable) ribbon and wrap it around their bread-argizaiola. Afterwards we went to a river near the city where the performance took place, there we put our edible relics on the water and watched them float away.

Apart from my personal connection to still missing something or someone, this project puts an emphasis on how we can recover from a loss and sustain our ability to mourn in the times of uncertainty, with weakened social structures. The ‘Still missing’ performance created an opportunity for people to take care of their own feelings and traumas, by asking them to let go of something which no longer serves them in the present, to help them release a burden they carried and wanted to get free of.

By adapting this object of grief and making copies of it into bread dough I wanted to give something to the participants which is edible and made by myself. It was a gift from me to them and supposed to be an offering from them to their past they wanted to leave behind. By knowing that my creations will vanish in the river and become one with nature I felt the power of letting go exponentially.

photos by Patricia Taberna

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© 2017 by Gergő Bánkúti, visual artist, Hungary/Magyarország

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