''My body, which is visible and mobile, belongs in the world of things; it is one of them, is incorporated the fabric of the world and its cohesion is that of a thing. But because it sees and moves, it also keeps things in a circle around it, they become an annex or extension of it, nestle in its flesh, are part of its complete definition, and the world is composed of the body's substance itself.'' (Merleau-Ponty)
lijfstof is a performance by and about bodies. It arose from the attempt to combine our bodies with objects in order to say something more about ourselves, about the body, about humans and how they live in the world and deal with it. Like a child's drawing, the performance consists of images which are created on impulse and whose import is not fixed. Among other things, the body is reduced to a hunk of meat and canned like a thing. Only the essence remains: the body is a piece of skin covering a mass. In its complete form it comprises a trunk, a head, two legs and two arms, ten toes and ten fingers. This image is familiar to us. But how alien is this image really, how repulsive and yet beautiful, and how vulnerable?
We think we know the body as an instrument too, but we are not always aware of its functions and our control of them is limited. We can be endlessly surprised by our bodies. By our arms, for instance, intermediaries between ourselves and the world. They can manipulate things according to our will. But things leave their traces on our bodies as well: red lines as silent witnesses of the contact between bodies and things. Like all things, humans are just a part of the world and their place in it is determined by sociological patterns.They are able to communicate according to certain codes. But this self-expression always remains incomplete and open to interpretation. Humans are invisible under their packaging, their disguise, but at the same time they are their packaging. This contradictory fact leaves us confused.