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A woman is walking down the street on a cold winter morning when she stops, closes her eyes, and remains immobile for the duration of the day. The world continues around her, people and cars pass, some stop, including the police, but she remains, eyes closed, yet present and unmoving. We witness her stillness in opposition to the movement of the day around her during her 12 hour period of action/non-action.

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Rachel Echenberg
Rachel Echenberg

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"The image of Rachel Echenberg standing still, eyes closed, for twelve hours in the middle of winter is burned into the back of my eyes and I am quite literally haunted and seduced. Seduced by the image of Rachel standing still with her eyes closed. Rachel closes her eyes. Deliberately choosing to blind herself. She maintains this willful blindness for the duration of her performance, sunset to sundown. To not see. To be like the child who places her hands over her eyes, believing that we can no longer see her. There is no visual exchange. A loss of an established transaction that interrogates the value of that which cannot be seen and poses this against the visual. Rachel enacts a corporeal transfiguration in public space, from eyes open to eyes closed. A transfiguration that images an already pre-existing blindness, an acknowledgment of that which we cannot see, or that which we cannot bear to see."

SPENCER, Karen. «Les 12 heures de Rachel Echenberg: la présence comme acte de foi», ESSE, Montréal, no 43 (automne 2001), [] (5 January 2010)

Time, Duration, Stillness, Body, City, Performance

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