Floating heart

The dance of the receptors #16
Nijmegen, The Netherlands 2023
POPOP Art Nijmegen
Invited by POPOP Art Nijmegen (Danielle Brans, Joos van der Zanden, Elky Rosa Gerritsen, Els Jacob)
Duration: 32 minutes
Photographs by Monika Deimling


The performance “Floating heart” is the last performance of the working cycle “The dance of the receptors” (2021-2023) and was presented in the late evening in front of the St. Jacobskapel in Nijmegen. Some street lights and two spots brought a bit of light into the dark setting.

The performance was presented as part of the collaborative project “Absurdity – the hole in rationality” created by PAS | Performance Art Studies and POPOP Art Nijmegen.

Description of actions:
A collage of performance images and sounds is created by executing the following actions with selected material.

– Holding a frame and a burning candle in front of face, chewing straw; Walking slowly through the streets towards the chapel. [Turning the body from time to time, so that the wind does not extinguish the flame of the candle.]
– Taking out of a bucket filled with water a dolls dress, showing it to the audience and placing it back into the bucket; repeating the action several times. [The water drops are audible.]
– At the same time: taking out of the same bucket a little silver bell, constantly ringing it and moving it in and out of the bucket. [The sound of the bell changes each time it touches the water.]
– Gently placing the dress onto the frame placed on the floor.
– Climbing on the table, taking a stick on which one side is a white chair attached and on the other side a white flag and lifting it over my head. [The chair is spinning around, and the flag is gently waving while moving the chair around the table.]
– Waving the white flag back and forth while standing on the table.
– Distributing yellow and red paint on the white shirt while slowly bending the body backwards.
– Binding a book on the face and increasingly ripping out the pages. [The pages fall on the floor and the wind distributes them around the action field.]
– Collecting the pages; binding them on both feet as shoes.
– Sitting at the table, slowly tilting the table. [The plates slide down and fall one by one on the floor and shatter into shards.]
– Lightning the white flag and waving the burning flag while standing on the table.
– Pulling out paper rolls mounted on the eyes.
– Placing the bucket on the table and lighting a yellow smoke torch. [Yellow smoke appears and vanishes in the night skies.]
– Taking the frame with the doll’s dress, chewing straw and slowly leaving the place.

“I watched the performance and was mesmerised by the images that were unfolding before my eyes. And then there was this moment when the flames of the burning white flag slowly extinguished. I watched the white smoke disappear into the darkness of the night and then, suddenly, and so unexpectedly, the bells of the nearby church began to toll. I felt a shiver go through my body, I had goose bumps and was deeply moved. The song “War is over” by John Lennon started to play in my head and I had to take a deep breath.”

by Elky Rosa Gerritsen

Cozy darkness surrounds me.
A soft yellow light shines over the old bricks.
A table in front of the old chaple is staring at me.
I shiver.
I wonder.
My eyes are wide open, waiting for moments of shared wandering.

I stare at the table.
I stare at the table.
The table stares at me
It is not happening at the table.

I make a quick turn.
The flickering candlelight behind the small glass window carried by a man in white fascinates me.
It is the presence.
The focus.
The ball of energy. Our energies. Our energies come together in the flickering light.

Wind go down!
Let the fire be the flame.

Sppss  spsss (sound of pushing something in the water)
spps spss


A child.

Is she dead?

The table is still empty.

I love the white.
The white outfit.
The white ‘tafelkleed’, what is ‘tafelkleed’ in English?
The white plates.
The white flag.

The white compared with the brown furniture. It is a clean image.
Perfectly fitting in the old surrounding.

Yes. The chair goes in the air.
It is turning. It is turning like a ballerina makes her pirouettes.
The spinning chair holds me.
Maybe in the same way fire can hold me.
The gaze, my gaze,  is in trance.
In that image, in that moment of time and space there is no time.
I am totally into the spinning chair in the air.

What about the child?

Is she in danger?

Because of war?
Why else the white flag?

The white flag burns

The cozy fire becomes a depressive agressor.

Empty plates at the table.
The world is empty.
Why not just let it all fade away.
Break the emptiness softly into pieces.
One plate sticks.

The girl?

In the end it breaks as well.

We can lit a candle and remember.
Remember and repeat.
Remember and repeat.
Place it in a frame. Remember.
Remember how you feel.
Remember how you act.
Remember and try not to repeat.

Do not repeat.
Change your actions.
Stay together.
Hold it.