Black Flag - A Public Opinion Pole
Ms Dominique Baron-Bonarjee
Urbanization is a key aspect of contemporary human ecology. Within this structured existence, human movement is 'choreographed' to fit so as to be apprehended: commuter, consumer, protester, vagrant, loiterer.
Black Walks has taken place in four capital cities since 2012. Centred on a black flag it set out to poetically explore the notion of citizenship and what it means to 'belong' in the city. Both pilgrimage and revolt, the walks weave urban narratives through cities. From Tokyo to London, Paris and Berlin this performance developed into a 'transmitter' that both attracts and reflects current public opinions and fears.
In the powerful symbolism attached to the black flag, inspired by Kazimir Malevich's painting Black Square, his 'return to zero' in painting, Black Walks attempts to 'deconstruct' the associations linked to this action, flag and colour and thereby allow viewers and participants to reassess the roots of their own judgements. Is it ISIS? Am I a fascist? An anarchist? "A woman all on her own leading a revolution"?
One key aspect is exploring a physiological orientation within the context of borders. The first walk took place in Tokyo: a meditation on the character of the 'gaijin'/the foreigner. In London, it considered the politics of loitering, following paths of immigration along the Thames. In Paris tracing a 50 km spiral around the city, inspired by Kumano Kodo's ancient pilgrimages, looking for the sacred in the urban landscape. In Berlin, walking along the verticalities of gentrification that replace the Wall and then consider how horizontality alters our perception of the terrain.
Black Walks is a movement project that inspires collaboration, invites discussion and creates a record of the changing preoccupations of different societies. As a roaming art project it responds to many of the contemporary yearnings for collectivity, a-politicism, simplicity, silence.
Dominique Baron-Bonarjee is an independent artist based in London and Berlin. She completed an MA Performance Practice from Central St Martin's, London, alongside studying dance, and visual art. She pursues a project of 'embodied research' undertaken through a nomadic practice, making work internationally that questions the concept of 'otherness'.
Her focus is on the body and she works in a broad way with performance, live art, public actions, installation, visual art, and video. She reflects on her practice through dialogue with other artists in an ongoing series of interviews and writings. She questions 'what is the contemporary' by searching for the role of the body within the systems that make up modern societies, examining gender, language, time, symbols and 'systems of command'.
Her work has been presented internationally, in theatres, festivals, galleries or responding to architectural spaces. She teaches Body Material workshops, an ongoing exploration of the body in performance, inspired by Butoh dance.