Kat Válastur: Arcana Swarm
Video collage


This video is an attempt to bring to the surface the emotional core of ›Arcana Swarm‹ and the thread that traverses it. ›Arcana Swarm‹ is a work about the state of humanity today and, for me, an allegory of humanity. It is a work that - in the structure of a collective subconscious, shaped by an artistic gesture - refers to how the events that determine our times affect me as a person and as an artist.

Beyond this ›Arcana Swarm‹ reveals something that is fragile and true - that we are all in the same boat and there is pain and joy. We collapse and yet we start again; this is our destiny. It is the shifts between collapse and new beginnings, between joy and despair, that makes us human – one or the other state never remains, instead both are constant. Could it be that this is what joy is? So Zadie Smith writes in her essay 'Joy': “Joy is such a human madness”, and “The thing no one ever tells you about joy is that it has very little real pleasure in it”.

›Arcana Swarm‹ is intertwined by the simple gesture of waving with a handkerchief. This gesture is both a starting point and a symbolic sign. How many times through history have people used this little piece of cloth to wave to other people, to say good-bye, to celebrate their return, to ask for help, to wipe away tears of joy and grief, to clean a wound. As ›Arcana Swarm‹ unfolds, this small piece of textile grows into a cloth that envelops the body and manifests a different kind of sign. At the same time, this sign refuses to be clearly readable and instead becomes a simple gesture of naivety and playfulness, like that of children who continue to play even if the world collapses around them.

Video, editing: Kat Válastur Music: Peter Breitenbach (Composition for ›Arcana Swarm‹) Images, documentary photography: Richard Drew, Sebastiao Salgado, Robert Frank, Paintings, art works: Jan Van Eyk, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Jacopo Pontormo, Théodore Géricault, Pieter Bruegel, intertwined with excerpts from the piece ›Arcana Swarm‹


04.04.2020, Tanzquartier, Wien (AT) (cancelled)
06.12.2019, Next Festival, Kortrijk (BE)
30.11.2019, Théatre de la Cité internationale, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris (FR)
29.11.2019, Théatre de la Cité internationale, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris (FR)
28.11.2019, Théatre de la Cité internationale, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris (FR)
23.11.2019, HAU - Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (DE)
22.11.2019, HAU - Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (DE)
21.11.2019, HAU - Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (DE)