In her work Aperitif, Rao performs with paper objects, setting up moments to pause upon - moments that are served in the form of courses. As suggested by the title, format and hand-held scale of the objects, in this performance Rao brings in her work and research into alcoholic beverages.
The work is based on a story Rao wrote in 2019 and which remains at the crux of her art practice. In this story, a woman develops a condition of involuntary and spontaneous teleportation. Each time she teleports, a part of her body gets left behind in the place of departure leaving her fragmented. If one were to make a portrait of this woman, it would be in the form of a map of the world with her scattered across its surface.
In this story, humor, disappearance, reappearance and dispersal are used to address the fragmentary—rather than cohesive—and distanced experience of oneself, a fractured and disparate sense of belonging, a “falling apart” of the mind—a loss of control, and a disconnection from intimate body parts.
Drawing from practices of bondage and harnessing, the fragile paper objects are failed contraptions that the protagonist devices to hold herself together and thereby to regain control. The photographs used are not so much records of her travel as they are animistic precursors which prophesize her subsequent locations, as well as her bleak attempts at realizing her intention.
This work was developed during the artist’s residency ISSP Riga Residency in Latvia and was performed at Bolderāja in Riga. The 25 minute performance was accompanied by a soundtrack. All objects are made by pasting layers of tissue paper and incorporating found photographs within them.
Showcard designed by Sui Lam