As part of the retrospective of the British/ Pakistani artist Rasheed Araeen, Garage will stage the performance Disco Sailing created by Araeen in 1970.
Rasheed Araeen’s works are full of references to the Russian avant-garde and the culture of the East, with Disco Sailing being no exception. His most well-known action, originally entitled Chakras (energy centers in Hindu and Buddhist medicine), saw the artist floating orange disks in water reservoirs in London and Karachi, thus giving birth to a spontaneously changing spatial sculpture not limited by the framework of an exhibition room. The concept of Disco Sailing alludes to the ideas of Soviet constructivists: artists and thinkers of 1920s productivist art who looked for new approaches to different life spheres, including sport, which they considered too commercialized, preoccupied with records, and generally inhumane. Art critic David Arkin promoted the idea of proletarian sport in Zrelischa (Spectacles) magazine, drawing parallels with the Chinese health-improving gymnastics tai ji quan (tai ji) and suggested that in order to improve themselves, the Soviet people had to train body balance and centering.
Like many of Araeen’s works, Disco Sailing, a proposal of a new leisure type, is an exercise in life arrangement as much as an art piece. The artist criticized contemporary sport’s celebration of competitiveness and concurrency which kill the very essence of physical activities—a harmonic development of all individuals, regardless of their skills and abilities. Disco Sailing is a set of several floating disks and special bright-yellow costumes reminiscent of Araeen’s sculptures and paintings that the participants of the action wear. The enactment of the performance is very simple: the participants dressed in the outfits have to hold on to the floats for as long as they can. From the physical culture viewpoint, this process is similar to health-enhancing practices of the Far East, such as tai ji and chi gung, that have achieved worldwide popularity today.
Throughout the May 25 finissage, visitors get free entry to all Garage exhibitions (with advance registration).