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“feel soft” – exhibition with performative interludes


Last weekend I opened a two-day exhibition which also incorporated performative interludes. It was a joint project together with artist and friend Franziska Boehm at ASC Croydon where I rent my artist studio. It was a lot of work, but very nurishing and supportive to share my fine arts and multi-media work and to test how to perform within it.

Installation shot of “feel soft”, ASC Arthouse West Croydon, 2023


The main question guiding our two current bodies of work is: How can our creative processes create agency in our lives?

In “feel soft”, we wanted to give each other company in our practices that evolve around the lived experience of chronic and mental health conditions. We both shared pieces from our ongoing body of works which shift back and forth between felt states, bodily experience, collage and paint as well as expansive installation. They explore how creativity can foster agency and acceptance within our lives and how we, as part of this exploration, soften into complexity.

Combining fine arts and performative approaches, the exhibition was informed by a choreographic perspective: which gestures do the works evoke in the space? Which dynamic pathways are being created? How do these gestures and pathways move you?

Installation shot of “feel soft”, ASC Arthouse West Croydon, 2023
Installation shot of “feel soft”, ASC Arthouse West Croydon, 2023
Installation shot of “feel soft”, ASC Arthouse West Croydon, 2023
Straight and curved (ripcage), 2023 © Mira Hirtz
Part of the series “dance daily”, 2023 @ Franziska Boehm

Relaxed and interactive setting

Is were curious to create an exhibition space that creates space rather than just occupying it. We wanted to offer a relaxed atmosphere with seating and places to rest available. During the performative interludes, the audience was invited to get comfortable, shift and come and go as they needed. This does not only benefit people who might need to shift their positions, but it was also part of the concept of the performances as well as the exhibition: shifting positions and relaxing also allows for changing perspectives and body-mind states to observe from!

In order to offer an engaging approachto art, the floorplan incorporated scores for the audience. Some of Franziska’s artworks could be hugged or played like an instrument. We also had a sheet to invent titles for the artworks and a touch and feel box with the materials we used.

Touch and feel box, installation shot of “feel soft”, ASC Arthouse West Croydon, 2023

Performative interludes

While Franziska shared her practice of relocating the human voice, together with the singer Carolina Cury, I worked together with the dancer Kate Brown. In “Slow and not so slow (performative interlude)”, we explored some of the topics of the exhibition through movement and stillness. We also played with the way we usually behave in an exhibition space. How do we observe, pose, rest? How do we relate to the architecture, the art works and each other? Do we find ways to test and listen to our desires?

Still of “Slow and not so slow (performative interlude)” with Kate Brown and Mira Hirtz, at ASC Croydon 2023, photo by © Adele Watts

Still of “Slow and not so slow (performative interlude)” with Kate Brown and Mira Hirtz, at ASC Croydon 2023, photo by © Adele Watts

Mira Hirtz

Basing her work on performative tools and somatic techniques, Mira Hirtz explores multi-sensory experiences and and articulations of our being-in-the-world. Looking at the intersections of art, health, ecology and science, her practice embraces the messiness of navigating life and dives into concepts of body, care as well as human and non-human interdependencies. Her work takes many different formats, from performance, installation and painting to curation and mediation. She graduated from the MFA Creative Practice at TL Conservatoire London and from the MA art research at University of Art and Design Karlsruhe. She co-curated the program series “How do we care?” at Badischer Kunstverein 2020, as well as the touring exhibition “Critical Zones. In Search of a Common Ground”, initiated by the ZKM | Karlsruhe, the Goethe-Institut South Asia, and Bruno Latour. Her recent exhibitions include “SOMA CITY” at We are Awareness in Art, Zurich; “Sensing P.: Kakosmos (after B. Latour)”, in “Every food is a landscape”, Milan and “Exploring notions of care: a performative workshop” at La Loge, Brussels. In her current research project, Mira Hirtz investigates the dialogue between her own experience of chronic health conditions, healing and art, developing a series of participatory scores, performative installations and collections of research.