(the practice)

The practice is a 10-part movement sequence


one arm up

the other arm up

both arms stretched out to the side




hands clasped behind your head elbows out

hold previous position but unfold arms to the side


The foundation is a body.

The body is encouraged to take up space.

The Participants

I don’t know them but I watch them.

I watch the version of themselves that they allow for public scrutiny/admiration/fascination.

I follow the self of them, the self that we can alter, manipulate, hide, curate, exploit.

Something about them is appealing to me. I discover not only them but discover what I value.

I value the want to show everyday mundane scenarios - these are more appealing to me than spectacles or constructed scenarios.

I think moderately bad skin is appealing and girls who eat are sexy.

They seem in control. It makes me wonder how I seem.

What I see in them is so clearly reflected back at myself. I too want to be (am?) a person

who does not want to conform to the standards of ‘femininity’ as a feline and demure woman,

always suggestively submissive, not too threatening, suitably emotionally vulnerable

and even in the most neutral state, some kind of glimpse in the eye, a neutral come hither.

I want to be strong even if the illusion of this perpetuates a reality and creates a stronger, more independent self because of the loop I situate

my being within. The self who holds the standard I myself search for.

The camera angle is not always at it’s most flattering, the gesture not the most composed, the ability to smile.

Is it the sex appeal? I am attracted? Is it the intellectual self that I can glimpse but not grasp?

Again, I don’t know them.

This too could be an illusion - the image they themselves carefully curate in a seemingly unconsidered sense.

Is there a deliberate consideration to detail in this self? Is there a fine balance and a considered structure

and quota for how many unflattering images I can project of myself to reach the balance between knock out/

amazing personality/humorous/generous with the self and the hidden demure?

I try to pick out emotions from a range.

When I say feminine they flirt even in the smallest range of motion.

When I say power they raise their chin.

The Environment /The Homestead

Asking to the subjects to partake in the practice I also ask them

to invite me into their homes or regular environment.

I have given them no instructions of any alterations that I want

them to make of their natural environment to suit my needs for the practice.

The need is the space for a full frame, from fingertips to feet to show in full view.

All other needs is the one of the participant. Or her projections of my wants.

She may have organised things just so, clearing the room of any notion of

what I may have seen as unwanted clutter but this is in fact the representation of

what the subject herself wants to show on view.

I aim to recreate in my own way a sense of home environment.

Fragmented from the various scenes I have gotten to know through the screen

and in real view as one of my participants become a further developed subject -

lady. I call her lady because I cannot remember her name and because she is a lady to me.

I can’t define the idea of a lady outside of costume drama terms but she sets her own standard of how she is portrayed.

Seemingly outside the standard of the office attire she puts great detail into the projection of her person.

Her office is like everyone else’s at Rupert - a pale wood sauna like interior.

Within it she creates a home-y environment where she has placed a casual meeting area.

A rose stands in the middle, a bowl of cookies, the table shines bright green.

A welcoming area to conduct casual business. I never see her by the coffee machine in

the communal kitchen. I think she has her own.

I meet with her once a day for a week.

We have very limited conversation because of language barriers.

But I always enjoy seeing her. She is warm, her hair is very soft and she always wishes me a good day.

When I forget to set the camera and have to ask her to make the practice again she just smiles and says ok.

When her phone rings in the beginning of the practice she is very apologetic even though I am taking up her time of work.

Every day she has a well-coordinated different outfit.

The day of the group workshop I conducted on the grass of Rupert she wore high heels and a tight dress.

So tight that when we were making the X with our bodies - her legs were limited in movement.

I didn’t find it odd that she was wearing this attire to work. Or repressive. She seems to me; completely her own.

She holds herself with wonderful quiet charisma. She says the movements make her feel good and

refers to her yoga class and in turn it makes me happy that she is happy.

I want to ask her if she would consider performing the practice at my show.

But I can tell that she is shy and I don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable.

She is already taking time every day to help me and also I never really know how much of what I say

she understands but I don’t want to offend her by assuming it is very little and that I need a translator

to tell her about the work.

When I went to the supermarket I wanted to buy her gifts as a thank you for helping me.

I wanted to add something to her home-y meeting place. I found a (naturally) blue plant and candles in beige, red, aqua and lavender.

One of them smells nice but the others just like wax. I also got her chocolate. The packaging was white and gold and looked fancy but only cost

2 euros. I was choosing between 75% and 55% but in the end I got 55% since I would have hated for her to think that I got her bitter chocolate.

The foundation is a body
preordained to the pursuit
of a particular purpose

The purpose of a body
is the preordained pursuit
particular to a foundation

The body is a foundation
of a particular purpose
the pursuit to preordained

The preordained pursuit
of a particular purpose
is to a foundation the body

A preordained foundation
is to the particular body
the pursuit of a purpose

A foundation is a particular body
the pursuit of a preordained purpose

The preordained pursuit
is to a particular body
the foundation of a purpose

Sanna Helena Berger (September 2015)

This work charts a series of workshops conducted on and offline by Sanna Helena Berger during her time as artist-in-residence at Rupert, centre for Art and Education.

They (the visitors) were prompted to take part in the activity (the practice) as shown at intervals throughout a video collating Sanna's research. As well as to enjoy the refreshments provided in The Environment/Homestead. You too (online) can carry out the activity as per the instructions and video at the top of this page (the practice).

Jasmine Picot-Chapman (27 September 2015)

Download exhibition booklet as a PDF.