i am not this suit

On August 30, 2019 the last work of the Human Suit circuit was carried out. It was the most relevant artistic performance / happening of the moment, “I'm not this suit” in which around 100 naked people interpreted the stigmas and social conditions of the "trajines" (burdens) that each person lives with their human suits.

The objective of this event was to close the exhibition circuit with which Man Yu extended the philosophical and social concept of her collection Human Suit in a series of pictorial works, installations, performances, videoarts, videomapping, fashion shows and other disciplines, through her works and through her guest artists.

With the happening, this time the artist shook passers-by in a public space, with a disturbing performance / happening also referring to Human Suit. Man Yu personally recruited 100 participants openly and of different walks of life to make the event collective, participatory, inclusive and intuitive. “I'm not this suit” followed the same aesthetic line of the series, and at the same time, it allowed the participants to freely project themselves in the various physical, social, psychological, emotional or spiritual reasons that motivated them to join the artistic proposal.

The content of the performance / happening was centered on the recognition that our human suit has no limits. It concerns us all, with or without a script, with or without a guide, we all live our trajines in our own way with our human suits, with or without conscience, but we all seek the true self, the true identity, and to finally free ourselves from the limitations of the human suit, or to magnify the capacity of our suit” says Man Yu, so that those who participate do so for the love of art, to live that adventure or because they face themselves, whether on a physical, social or psychological level, emotional or spiritual.

Guest artists who were part of the artistic activation (and of the complete Human Suit Circuit) complemented the work with their majestic performance: The musician behind the Theremin, Ronald Bustamante as Antisense; and the actor behind EVO, Cristian Esquivel.

"I am not this suit" is the name of this simple act of many people who expose their human suits, with their "trajines" (burdens), in a place visible to the public, without tapes or filters, without taking refuge behind a constructed identity, representing the collective conscience as a single being. Some of those who participate do so for an unconditional love of art, others for living that unique and unrepeatable adventure, but many, the majority, do it to face themselves, whether on a physical, social, psychological, emotional or spiritual level.

Each participant battles against itself, its fears, its demons, in such a critical moment, so vulnerable and at the same time, so free, that they have nothing left but to love and cling to themselves as a being and not as a body. Participants and spectators are expected to be able to release their human bustle, even if for a truly short few minutes during the construction of the play.

“However, it is not known what each person felt, there are infinite possibilities. My role as an artist is to offer some tools, and place together the right stage, so that, collectively and individually, we can all experience unity and the Human Suit effect for an instant, ”says Man Yu.

The tour begins with all the people walking, dressed in white or nude shades, with a T-shirt that reads "I am not this Suit" which is the name of the happening / performance. The participants' heads are completely bandaged to show bodies without identities that could limit them. Also the covered faces is a representation that, in many cases, we are unknown to ourselves and the human suit, despite being our most sophisticated tool of expression and evolution, is not our true identity, and therefore, does not define us. . Furthermore, these elements form part of the visual coherence with the Circuit and the pictorial and performance works of the previous Human Suit activations.

The character Evo, played by Cristian Esquivel, reappears on the scene guiding the tour while the piece “This place was a shelter” by Olafur Arnalds plays, which has been the musical track for Evo's previous Human Suit performances in the Municipal Museum of Cartago and the Cultural Center of Spain, and in the "The Human Closet" fashion show at the National Gallery.

Evo is the representation of the amplification and intensification of all the emotions of a human being who wears a human suit. Evo is pain, frustration, insecurities, helplessness, despair, fear, uncertainty, attachment, but also, it is self-love.

After 300 meters of travel of all the participants together with Evo, the musical piece changes for the composition of Rachmaninoff, Elegie de Morceaux de Fantaisie (Op. 3 No.1), with a twisted sad melody, almost like a funeral march, as a life as it is without being aware of ourselves, without finding ourselves, in the “fantasy” of being alive.

At Man Yu's 1st signal: "There is no suit heavier than the human suit", all the participants take off their shirts and Evo "undresses" from his jacket and finds his full nude tone underneath. Then Man Yu gives a 2nd signal: "Let's look at the sky together, as if realizing that we are prisoners", everyone looks up for 5 seconds. It was a small gesture during a brief moment, yet very powerful. It is about collective awakening. At the 3rd signal from Man Yu: "let's leave our heavy bustle behind", all the participants undress completely leaving only their bandaged heads and their human suits exposed in contrast to Evo, who, although he has taken off his clothes, really does not undress for he will never succeed in his endless self-search, evidencing the difficult and painful introspective struggle to find himself.

The reason why they are complete nude is for the clarity and fidelity to the concept that the body is just another garment, or it is the garment. Therefore, the work must be honest and pure. Each participant battles against himself, his fears, his demons. It is a critical moment in which they have nothing more but to love and cling to themselves as a being, not as a body.

Everyone continues the tour, dancing, walking upside down, in reverse, moving freely, following their emotions and music. Evo steps forward and arrives at a plaza where he finds an enormous nude-toned fabric spread throughout the space, in which he positions himself in the center of the fabric and ties it around his waist, forming a large skirt. In that, Rachmaninoff's piece ends and the guest musician Antisense, who was also the composer and interpreter of the musicalization of the videomapping work of Traje Humano, performs live the Theremín, a powerful experimental sound piece while Evo dances with his great skirt and the naked participants go around the edge of the canvas.

Man Yu gives the signal and says: "We are one skin, to shake our trajines, our worries, pain, illness, sadness, loneliness, all our fears ... None of this represents us!" and the naked participants energetically shake the canvas as a visual metaphor of an enormous skin, for universal collectivity, and for the empathic ability to feel the trajines, marks, wrinkles, scars of other people as a single being.

The Theremin was chosen, which, unlike other musical instruments, is played without touching. This does not mean that the body is not necessary, instead it means that it is not the mechanics of the body, matter, mass that come into play, but the ability of the human being to generate electric fields that makes it possible for the theremin to generate sound and silence. The acoustic environment climaxes during the shaking of the large canvas, creating an almost galactic sensation - as a sign of awakening, representing references in different spiritual beliefs about sound. Then, in an instant, at the signal from Man Yu "let's go inside to find ourselves", the participants crawl naked under the canvas, suggesting the abandonment of "individuality" and the formation of "one being" under a " same skin ”. Everyone shakes the cloth from below creating a magical visual effect on Evo's immense human costume that covers the entire plaza.

A few minutes later, the fabric remains completely still, the Theremin stops playing, everything is silent again and Evo, in a dramatic way, begins to energetically pick up the fabric, revealing the participants under it, now dressed, who are lying on the ground - unconscious - back to daily life and individuality: dressed and dead while Man Yu says:

I brought love, I'm not this suit

I brought faith, I'm not this suit

I brought strength, I'm not this suit

I brought life, I'm not this suit

Man Yu encourages the audience to shout the phrase: "I am not this suit", and while insistently repeating it, she falls among the participants as part of the mass, of the inevitable collective unconsciousness.

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San José, Costa Rica | Copyright sep 2020 Man Yu 

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