Performative Pärnu County

A series of performances, made for non-human entities, took place at various locations in Pärnu County, Estonia, during June and July 2020. Documentation of the performances appeared in the exhibition Performative Pärnu County, curated by Kaarel Kütas, at Pärnu City Gallery, Estonia. 12 September – 3 October 2020.

About the work:

“In the spring of 2020, I began work on my own project for the ‘Performative Pärnu County’ exhibition. At that time a very specific type of introversion was developing, one that did not feel compatible with the invitation to make performances for audiences across the county. Avoiding other humans, in the garden or in the forest, you can find many beings who are happy to both perform for you and to be your audience. I cycled alone across Pärnu County, 565 km in total, enjoying nature’s colourful, diverse, and eternal performance. I stopped every time I sensed a communicative audience around me. Each performance was different, made especially for those to whom it was performed, in response to their unique personality, perspective, and everyday existence. What speaks to a bog may be incomprehensible to a rock. As the performances were not meant for humans, there was no point in staging them for a camera, which would only have prevented me from focusing my full attention on my public. Performance documentation, presented in acrylic on paper, gives gallery visitors a glimpse of the intimate performances that took place this summer in Pärnu County, to which they were not invited.” – Hannah Harkes