Existere is an artist book based on a living sculpture that took place on three dates in July 2011 at Testbed1 in London. In collaboration with 125 volunteers, the performance took the form of a “shelter” made of naked human bodies. The “shelter” was held together in an endured brace, before inevitably coming apart, pausing and reforming.
The book cover is the skin of the memory. A blue cotton skin, that covers each edition and is cut from the cloth on which the naked performers held their embrace on those three days in July, that now seem many years ago. It is a blue filtration system, sieving out the glorious human stain; catching the filth collected, digested, and excitedly excreted by the huddle of human bodies. And beneath the blue cesspit, words call out the memories from those days.
Despite the time that has now passed and the future it shaped, I still occasionally find it difficult to look backward, gazing over the edge, between the covers of the book, and at the intensity that reflects back from my gaze. Like a peeled onion, the truth reflected in those words stings my eyes. And I still don't know if this is in shame or pity. Perhaps it is both.
JocJonJosch is an Anglo-Swiss visual arts collective based in London, Zürich and the Valais canton of Switzerland. The collective’s members are Joschi Herczeg, Jonathan Brantschen, and Jocelyn Marchington.