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allforart_jessicavandeursen
artrott

All For Art (february 2108), made for the Prospect & Concepts exhibition by The Mondriaan Fund at Art Rotterdam. With many thanks to The Mondriaan Fund for their generous support.


For this five day long durational performance, I let myself be fixated to an infusion, and therefor to a hospital bed during the opening hours of the exhibition. I was fed by the exhibition attendants, according to a fixed scheme. I could not leave the bed to use the restroom.
In total, more then 500 people sat down to have a conversation with me. Some were short and somewhat superficial, other opened up quite a lot about themselves, and shared their sorrows, secrets, fears, happiness and sometimes, we even shed some tears together.

 

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How this work came about:

It's October 2015 and I am staring out the window to the dull grey skies, whilst lying in an old fashioned hospital room. Waiting... for yet another nurse to come and take four vials of blood. And indeed, ten minutes later I'm watching how a new frowning face, vigorously tugs and pulls the infusion which, after having drawn over thirty prior vials, now refuses to do its job. I am not ill. At least, I don't think so...

My participation to this well-paying medical research, is entirely voluntary. Right? Not long before, I had been informed that, after having carried out three years of exhausting catering work on a zero hour contract, I would not receive a permanent contract because my 'function' had become 'redundant'. Later I found out that I was replaced by a new, sixteen-year-old girl.

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According to some contemporary opinions, I am part of the generation called 'millenials'. Apparently, we are spending most of our days on social media, we're self-centered, lazy, pampered and easily upset and burned out. Rather, I believe I am part of a generation of people, who have been told their entire lives that the key to success is to simply ''work hard enough'', as willpower inevitably will provide you with a well-paying job, and a pretty house with a white picket fence. And perhaps even, if you work really, really hard (what follows seems to be the absolute pinnacle of success in this somewhat outdated 20th-century paradigm); you might become rich and famous! Then, all the world's money and the good things, will simply fall into your lap!

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The economic crisis lasted for roughly ten years. In this time, I have had around 41 flex/temp/parttime/fulltime jobs. At times, three simultatiously, while also trying to finish my studies. As jobs were scarce, it seemed not just to me, but also to my friends, classmates and peers as well, that we were standing still – for ten years. We were stuck without jobs or prospects. And after this dedace of humiliation by employers ('Your one of a thousand that's in need of a job, so just shut up, will ya?!') and/or the Employee Ensurance Agency (UWV, red.), all we were left with was a damaged sense of trust...

..After five days in this hospital, the nurse pulled the needle from my vein. With a fat stack of cash and a new sense of disgust about myself, it was time for me to go back home, alone...
Two months later, I was granted the Stipendium for Emerging Artists by the Mondriaan Fund (Werkbijdrage Jong Talent, rec.). And very soon, I will be performing on Art Rotterdam, partaking in the Prospects & Concepts expo of this very same Mondriaan Fund. What to do? Back in late 2015, I could have only dreamt of such an achievement... 

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I do not wish to come across as bitter or ungrateful, don't get me wrong. But that hospital and the infusion have never left me. So now I all of a sudden, seem to be somewhat 'successful', I will not put up a fake smile (for the pictures). My story has become the work of art... questioning the state of the world, my own courage and integrity. And thereby, hoping to reach out to others who were not as lucky as me, to escape this paradigm yet...

In any case, I will be present at Art Rotterdam, Prospects & Concepts. You are invited to take place beside my hospital bed, on a wonderfully comfortable plastic folding chair, and you can tell me anything that you need to get off your chest. I will listen to you and be there for you. I will not be going anywhere – and not just because I'm stuck with a needle in my arm, attached to an infusion, bound to my own installation for days on end…

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