From day 1 –now 3 days ago- I have been bumping into people. The skill to move fluently among pedestrians, bikers and cars -a skill I enjoy to cultivate-, doesn’t seem to work in this city. In Amsterdam a nod usually makes an oncoming pedestrian turn to her or his right and me to my right, so we pass without contact. Here the same nod makes us both move to the right, or the nod gets tangled up in selfie-sticks, people on the floor, large rocks on the pavement, sounds, movement, salesmen and conversations. I kick another woman, apologize and take evasive action that takes me dangerously close to a granite dustbin.
Somehow I keep returning to the city centre, mesmerized by the widespread activity, the army of Prague Quadrennial visitors and participants, the salesmen, the tourist information, the food, the guy at Karlova street that keeps trying to engage me in conversation every time I walk by, about 10 to 15 times a day.
I am professionally interested in understanding the structure of Prague – searching for a place to perform my intervention in public space – but nonetheless I seem to hesitate, feeling reluctant to leave but also to enter this agitated life of Prague. I feel literally on the threshold between two places. When I’m part of it, there are bodies and stories everywhere bumping into me. When I break away from this flow of activity – a bit out of breath- it immediately feels empty, only bricks, houses, cars and street signs. Eagerly I look back…
During my intervention I look for those in-between spaces, creating and taking up space, filling a narrow passage next to a crowded street, opening up a space at the beginning of the Charles Bridge, covering a bench to interrupt dialogue. Making a visual narrative about spaces and the bodies that crowd this space, diverting a route and temporarily attempting to take control, a stranger in this strange land.