WATER CREATES LIFE, WATER DESTROYS LIFE.
TWO PERFORMERS-DIVERS SHARE A SINGLE SOURCE OF AIR FROM A TANK
POWERED BY BICYCLE PUMPS POWERED BY VOLUNTEERS ON THE SHORE.
THE UNDERWATER PERFORMANCE SPO2, FILMED AND BROADCAST LIVE ON A LARGE SCREEN,
EXPLORES THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF BEINGS, THE PHYSICAL AND PSYCHICAL RESISTANCES OF THE HUMAN BODY,
AND ADDRESSES ECOLOGICAL ISSUES.
CONCEPT AND PERFORMANCE
ANNE ROCHAT AND JEAN ROCHAT
ASSISTANCE AND ARTISTIC COLLABORATION
IMAGES AND UNDERWATER LIGHTS
AIRSOURCEONE – SVEN FINK & BENJAMIN SCHULZE
OLIVIER KAESER / ARTA SPERTO
CLUB DE PLONGÉE DE LA VALLÉE DE JOUX,
MAURICIO LEAL, LYDIE ROCHAT,
NICOLE ROCHAT, SOPHIE BALLMER, TARIK HAYWARD
SpO2 is a performance in which Anne and Jean Rochat immerse themselves in a body of water and breathe using a single shared hose. At the other end of the pipe, eight people operate bicycle pumps to supply them with air, via a modified cistern and a compressor. Their action is minimal, but vital: for two hours, the performers do nothing but breathe, keeping themselves alive. Underwater, two cameras capture the scene, transmitted to a screen on the surface. Microphones record underwater sounds, which are reworked live by two musicians broadcasting it both underwater and to the public. A double system of interactions is thus established between the aquatic depth the surface, through the flows of air and of sound.
Anne Rochat has had a long-standing interest in and confrontation with water: in 3MAT (2015) she swims across the Lac de Joux lengthwise, by day and by night, in Obsidian (2017) she wraps herself, naked, around a melting block of ice, in Hic & Nunc (2018) she crosses the 120 kilometers of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. In winter 2021, she immersed parts of her body under the ice and photographed herself, in the series Lù Tòrrèn. With SpO2, she goes one step further and initiates the History of O performance and research cycle around the water element, in close collaboration with her twin brother Jean Rochat.
Water is essential for life, but can also be life threatening. The long immersion in this element aims to point out the tension and fragility inherent in these opposing forces. The endangerment of the two individuals serves as a metaphor for the interdependence of beings, of living together, of a disrupted world in which humans reformulate the place they occupy. With SpO2, Anne Rochat deepens her explorations of the physical and psychological resistance of the human body, against a background of reflection on ecological issues.
Born in 1982 in the Vallée de Joux, a graduate from ECAL in Lausanne, a nomad based in Berlin, Anne Rochat is an artist whose preferred medium is performance. Her practice is centered on her own body, with which she experiences endurance, resistance, limits, in very diverse contexts such as Lausanne, Varanasi, Phnom Penh, the Vallée de Joux, the Qinghai Lake, the Salar de Uyuni, the Svalbard or the Chongqing Archipelago. She has presented her work in festivals (Bâtie, Geneva; IPA, Giswil; Arctic Action, Svalbard; Bone, Bern; Fierce, Birmingham; Live Art Action, Göteborg; IPA, Istanbul…), biennials (Shanghai, Maputo), theatres (Arsenic, Lausanne; Usine, Geneva, etc.), museums and art centers (Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing; A4 Museum, Chengdu; Tinguely Museum, Basel; Swiss Cultural Center, Paris; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, etc.) . She teaches at EDHEA in Sierre where she is responsible for the performance unit. Winner of the Manor Vaud 2020 Cultural Prize, she exhibited at the MCBA in Lausanne in 2020-2021, which edited with art & fiction the Anne Rochat catalog, In Corpore. Born in 1982 in the Vallée de Joux, Jean Rochat lives in Berlin. An economic historian, a doctor of the universities of Paris-Sorbonne and Geneva, he carries out teaching and research work, and regularly collaborates on artistic projects in Switzerland.
Arta Sperto is a curation, production, organization and publishing agency for artistic, mainly multi- and transdisciplinary projects, founded and directed by Olivier Kaeser. Without a fixed location, it imagines its projects in collaboration with cultural partners, or in public spaces, both urban and natural.
SpO2 is the first project of one of the axes of activity of Arta Sperto, “On Context, One Work”, which consists in proposing to an artist to conceive a work starting from a context which he / she chooses, and in which the work can be presented to the public. Anne Rochat responded by choosing to be immersed in a body of water.
SpO2 was created in 2021 on two sites, on the shores of Lake Geneva, then in a river in Ticino. For each context, a specific partnership is set up by the artists and by Arta Sperto. At La Tour-de-Peilz, with La Becque – Artist Residencies in collaboration with the Théâtre de Vidy. In Geneva, with the Bains des Pâquis and in Ticino, with the Cima Norma Art Festival. This first trajectory, neither live performance tour nor travelling exhibition, invents a model of artistic aquatic cartography.