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PERSONAL SPACE/SAFETY ZONE (PSSZ)
above: Gosia Wlodarczak PERSONAL SPACE/SAFETY ZONE 7 (2004) pigment pen, acrylic on linen, 205 x 260 cm right: PERSONAL SPACE/SAFETY ZONE 7 performance at Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra; PERSONAL SPACE/SAFETY ZONE 5 (2003) detail below: PERSONAL SPACE/SAFETY ZONE 7 - LYING, SITTING,  KNEELING, STANDING four stages of the performance below right: PERSONAL SPACE/SAFETY ZONE 5 and detail (2003) pigment marker, crayon on linen, 125 x 175 cm (click images to enlarge)

SAFETY ZONE IS THE HUMAN NEED TO HAVE/ESTABLISH A ZONE OF SECURITY (PHYSICAL OR MENTAL), A SPACE IN WHICH TO FEEL SAFE, COMFORTABLE, AT HOME WHEN THE MIND CANNOT FOCUS, WAITING FOR UNEXPECTED INVADERS; WHEN, AT NIGHT, THE BODY CANNOT RELAX TWISTED IN READINESS TO GET UP AND RUN…  SAFETY ZONE IS THE NEED TO HAVE/ESTABLISH A ZONE OF STABILITY, A PLATFORM OF DISCOURSE WHEN THE ACTUALITY OF THE PERSONAL, CULTURAL AND ARTISTIC MIND-SET IS CONSCIOUS IN TWO LANGUAGES, POLISH AND ENGLISH; WHEN THIS CONSCIOUSNESS CREATES UNPREDICTABLE MOMENTS DURING WHICH ONE IS NOT ABLE TO COMMUNICATE IN WORDS—A ‘SPACE’ BETWEEN LANGUAGES; WHEN THIS VOID NULLIFIES IDENTITY, AND PRODUCES A SENSE OF DISPLACEMENT, CONFUSION AND FEAR; WHEN IN THE PROCESS OF THINKING EACH LANGUAGE OCCURS/DISAPPEARS SPONTANEOUSLY AND INEXPLICABLY; WHEN NEW LANGUAGE PENETRATES INTO DISTANT MEMORIES, INTO OLDER LAYERS OF KNOWLEDGE, AND RESHAPES THEM; WHEN OLD LANGUAGE SLIPS AWAY AND CHANGES INTO INCORRECT, CRIPPLED FORMS….         Gosia Wlodarczak
 
Four stages of the PERSONAL SPACE/SAFETY ZONE 7 Performance
 
(I) LYING – PERTH, home: drawing was done with two hands simultaneously whilst lying on the linen. Lying down not only symbolises the comfort, safety, but vulnerability that comes from truly ‘inhabiting’ a space, but also the sense of ‘possession’ of a space that comes from being a ‘citizen’ of that space; an expansive zone of the familiar. The colour of drawing whilst lying down is WHITE. The resultant, linear image reveals the body movements made whilst drawing.

(II) SITTING – PERTH, home: drawing was done with two hands simultaneously whilst sitting in two different spots on the linen. The area of drawing extends as far as my hands could reach. Sitting is an alert but still relaxed position. It allows controlling, learning and reacting in new and unexpected situations. The colour of drawing whilst sitting down is GRAY.

(III) KNEELING – PERTH, home: drawing was done with tho hands simultaneously whilst kneeling on the linen, back to the wall. The area of drawing extends as far as my hands could reach. Kneeling is both a physical response to, and a position that symbolises an awareness of a shrinking safety zone. The colour of drawing whilst kneeling is BLACK. The linen was then rolled up in readiness for transport to Canberra.

(IV) STANDING - CANBERRA, Helen Maxwell gallery 10 july 2004: The linen has been unrolled, and placed 2/3 on the gallery floor and 1/3 pinned to the wall. During a one-hour performance, drawing was done with two hands simultaneously whilst standing on the linen, back to the wall. Standing with one’s back to the wall is a defensive response. It speaks of insecurity, fear, shrunken personal space, a state of emergency and discomfort. Such psychological and emotional states are symbolised by the colour of drawing whilst standing, which is RED.