Darwin Andino (HND)Clarissa Baumann (BRA) •  Javier Calvo (CR) •  Eder Castillo (MX) •  Camila Come Caramelo (GTM) • Fabiola Carranza (CR) • Sergio Rojas Chaves (CR) • Natalia Dominguez (SLV) • Leonardo Gonzalez (HND) • Silvio De Gracia (ARG) • Alejandro de la Guerra (NIC) • Jonathan Harker (PA) • Karlo Ibarra (PR) • Maria Karantzi (CL) • Alejandro Leonhardt (CL) • Javier Ramírez-Nadie (SLV) • Jesus “Bubu” Negrón (PR) • Inês Nin (BRA) • Daniela Medina Poch (CL) • Javier González Pesce (CL) • Max Provenzano (VEN) • Pilar Quinteros (CL) • Anna Rosa Rodríguez (VEN) • Crack Rodriguez (SLV) • Armando Rosales (VEN) • Diego Sagastume (GTM) • Fredy Solano (SLV) • Adan Vallecillo (HND)
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Photos: Sandino Scheidegger

Despacio, San José, March 3–17

How do you keep a performance alive? For German artist Thomas Geiger, the answer is letting it live on through repetition. For the Festival of Minimal Actions, he re-performs actions and interventions other artists have made in the public sphere. After Brussels and Paris, he is bringing the festival to San José, Costa Rica, where he will repeat twenty-eight performances by Latin American artists for random passersby and onlookers. The Festival is accompanied by an exhibition inside Despacio. Each performance is condensed into a descriptive statement and printed onto a large flag. As each one happens, its respective flag will be raised along Despacio’s facade and made visible to anyone making their way down San José’s central avenue (…)

4. March
Crack Rodriguez SLV

I polish my shoes with a SICA flag to reflect me. (Premiere, 2018)

4. March
Adán Vallecillo HND

I ask people if they would like to punch out bills in the shape of hearts. Afterwards, they can keep the perforated bills and hand me out the hearts. (First performed in Tegucigalpa, 2008.)

5. March
Maria Karantzi CL

I use adhesive tape to attach wheels to a public bench, a fountain and a traffic light. (First performed in London, 2007)

5. March
Daniela Medina Poch CL

I make a one-man protest to protest against the lack of protests in my environment. (First performed in Amsterdam, 2016)

6. March
Jesus “Bubu” Negrón PR

I collect cigarette butts of one colour for one day and I put them between the paving stones on a street. (First performed in San Juan, 2002)

6. March
Camila Come Caramelo GTM

When one of these actions happen I am shouting the corresponding word: someone sits down --> tunel; somone touches his head or hat --> Cuando estas acciones se manifiesten grito la palabra que corresponde: Quando algien se sienta --> Túnel; Algien se foca el pelo o la cabeza --> Mixtificadora; Someone gets up --> Stay; Someone speaks with himself or into his phone --> I am?; Some eats or smokes --> A?; A couple passes --> Man? (First performed in Guatemala City, 2017)

7. March
Jonathan Harker PA

I make an ephemeral sundial out of an rolled up newspaper and install it in a place with a special significance. (First performed in Managua, 2009)

7. March
Eder Castillo MX

I produce an artwork from the distance without the use of money. This consists in the realization of a painting based on earth on a piece of white cloth, which will be used as a flag in public space. At the end of the event the flag will disappear by washing the cloth at the site.(First performed in Zurich, 2016)

8. March
Natalia Domínguez SLV

I wash the feet of strangers on the street as an act of love and tolerance. (First performed in San José, 2017)

8. March
Leonardo Gonzalez HND

I repair the gaps and cracks in the central plaza with ice cream. (First executed in Tegucigalpa, 2014 )

9. March
Clarissa Baumann BRA

I direct the sun light to an aleatory window with a small mirror. (First performed in Paris, 2014)

9. March
Fredy Solano SLV

I insert my raised fist into a hole found in a wall. I close the hole with cement and wait until it has dried and I become one with the wall, to then free my fist with chisel and hammer. (First performed in Alicante, 2017)

10. March
Darwin Andino HND

I look for political messages to correct their spelling errors. (First performed in Tegucipalca, 2006)

10. March
Javier González Pesce CL

I walk carrying a stereo that plays the soundtrack of a romantic movie, while I am looking for a couple in love. When coming across the couple, I approach them and create a romantic scene for them, as it would happen in the movies. (First performed in Valais, 2016)

11. March
Pilar Quinteros CL

I dress as an indigenous native and walk through the city for the entire day. (First performed in New York, 2014)

11. March
Fabiola Carranza CR

I walk around. I stop in the middle of the street to check the time on my wrist but I do not wear a watch. (First performed in Vancouver, 2008)

12. March
Karlo Ibarra PR

I clean the shoes of the statue of José Figueres for an 8-hour shift. (Premiere, 2018 )

12. March
Diego Sagastume GTM

I ask people on the street to tell me a personal story related to where we are standing. (Performed in Guatemala-City, 2017 )

13. March
Max Provenzano VEN

I sit in a chair found on the street, at a place that looks like an island. I see the cars passing by like shooting stars that go away, I see people and their reactions. My own island is my own sensation. (First performed in Caracas, 2016 )

13. March
Anna Rosa Rodríguez VEN

I draw the silhouettes of someone's feet at random while I ask him: “What does present mean to you? What is memory mean to you? What does this place represent to you?”. (First performed in Caracas, 2017)

14. March
Javier Ramírez-Nadie SLV

I send a message to someone who has been important in my life, and you are the channel to communicate that message in an artistic way. (Premiere, 2018)

14. March
Armando Rosales VEN

I buy the cheapest cheese and a can of tuna at the nearest supermarket. I prepare a sandwich in a comfortable place and I eat it. I repeat this if necessary. If the sandwich is good, I tell someone. (Based on a real meal in San José, 2016)

15. March
Javier Calvo CR

I go to a park and look for a tree. I choose a tree and hang myself on one of its branches. I resist as long as I can. (First performed in Tegucigpalca, 2018)

15. March
Sergio Rojas Chaves CR

I take a plant from my apartment to walk around the city. (First performed in San Jose, 2015 )

16. March
Silvio De Gracia ARG

I walk through the cemetery and I spread birthday balloons. (First performed in 2003)

16. March
Alejandro de la Guerra NIC

1. I choose a monument that has a symbolic and patriotic significance.
2. The monument must tell a certain story in order to modify or interfere with that story to create a new dialogue with it.
3. I do not ask for permission to intervene.
4. The interventions are of short duration, however I do several of them on the same monument to obtain the best posture.
5. They are not rules.
(First performed in 2011)

17. March
Inês Nin BRA

With a blue line, I delimit a region by marking dots throughout a route, with long nails, on the dirt and grass soil. Plots are drawn, invented. We walk through the space, I walk. The installation remains there until something or someone finds it. A semi-visible drawing on the ground. (First performed in São Paulo, 2016/17)

17. March
Alejandro LeonhardtCL

1. I look for a camera.
2. I go to a place I do not know.
I take a photograph of this one.
3. I gather the objects that are in the place and that I can transport.
I take a picture of these.
4. I separate the objects by colour.
I take a picture of these.
5. I align objects by size: from least to greatest, or vice versa.
I take a picture of these.
6. I align objects by weight: from less to more, or vice versa.
I take a picture of these.
7. I align objects by hardness: from less to more, or vice versa.
I take a picture of these.
8. I stack the objects the way I want: from less to more, or vice versa.
I take a picture of these.
9. I disarm the stack and distribute the objects randomly.
I take a picture of these.
10. I return the objects to the place where I found them.
I try to take a photograph similar to the first one.
(First performed in 2014)

How to keep a performance alive?

The Festival of Minimal Actions by German artist Thomas Geiger is based on the principle that the work of art does not have to be performed by the artist themselves. On the contrary, most works have an inherent potential to take form independently of their authors, one that can be activated in a new social and temporal context by others.
To give life to this idea, Geiger brings artistic performances from the past into the present. By re-performing actions carried out by fellow artists, he rediscovers works of art that were made for another public and another time, giving them a new charm, impact, or reason for re-appearing in public once more.
While the random pedestrians making their way through the streets of San José may not be aware of the performances taking place before their eyes, new chapters will be written in the stories told by each piece – chapters co-written by Geiger as he performs them. With each piece colored by the time and space it takes shape in, the festival will explore the ways in which a performance never happens the same way twice.
To date the festival took place in Brussels (2014) and Paris (2015). On invitation of Despacio, the 3rd edition will happen in San José, Costa Rica. The festival’s twenty-eight performances are based exclusively on works by artists from Central and South America. Each artist agreed to the idea of reawakening their actions in San José. The Festival will be accompanied by an exhibition inside Despacio.

— Sandino Scheidegger


Concept: Thomas Geiger
Translation: Diego Arias
Realisation: Despacio, San José. Special thanks to Cristina Ramírez, Erno Hilario, Sandino Scheidegger, Frederico Herrero and Luca Müller.
Design: Astrid Seme, Studio

© 2018 Thomas Geiger, the artists and authors.
Thanks to all the artists contributing in the festival and sharing their concept and to Despacio, San José and its director Sandino Scheidegger for making it happen.