What’s Left Behind? : Catching Senses in Abandoned Space, Nena Nastasiya

A warm summer night in August. My friend, Ruben Laijan and I were creating a collaboration in an abandoned school in Amsterdam. Our project “Abandoned Scent” is a research of a senses that left behind through an abandoned space. The “scent” is being our representative from the human senses context. The process is quite interesting since we were sneaking up and waiting until a bit late to start creating the works. As Ruben is a musician, the idea was to composed a soundscape or music, and doing an experimental works with my project, Space Robot. Several nights before, Ruben and I were sitting in front of the school under the starry sky. We were both planning to “make a clear plans” but ended up surrender with our own thoughts. We have agreed to harmonized with the space and let’s see how it will be.

To be in too much thinking.

To not see clearly.

This could be a journey to the mind and senses.

Seeing the world through a thinking mind can be very fearful.

We were using one large room that only left its carpet. There was a closed windows and door that fully blocked from the outside world with a huge white curtain. The electricity still running, so we were able to turn on the light and plugged in some music instrument stuff that Ruben brought.

Not able to experience or connect.

The past life also gives a strong bound that build our sense today.

Couldn’t lie anymore, it was super warm inside. I opened a bit some of the windows and let the fresh air came in. Then the darkness occurred. It was quite late. The space seems happy when we turned off the main light and let it be itself.

You can be the darkness as well.

How you are able to see all the good invisible thing.

We decided to use the whole space to hang the works and filmed in one take while Ruben composed a spontaneous melody in the darkness.  A sense of abandoned and loneliness of the space feels quite strong as I filming the works unintended. I grabbed the lamp that Ruben brought from his studio and started walking with it in the darkened space. Trying to caught one artwork to another. Trying to sense the space. Trying to resonate with its abandoned.

It all easily flows and sometimes you think, “Oh wow, I feel alive. So alive!”

Thinking is the darkness and the scent is the life experience.

There were some thought coming inside my head while making the works. It was magnificent to use the space where no one there. Where it left behind. The empty space where it uses to be filled with students, voices, things, scents and activities. And now, then, what’s left behind?

Scared at some point when you are on a journey, you get tested.

That’s a good thing means you are on the right track.

Maybe the robot also gets tested.

He is also get tested and changing.

The place is still there, abandoned. But the warm sunlight through the window during the evening, a soft wind from the little hole on the ceiling and the crickets sounds, telling it’s still there. All left there.

It is also beautiful too but can be scared.

It’s deep to see the robot able to do it.

“Woah, I am sweating! I need air!” Some mumbling noises we created to the space. We packed our stuff, leaving the only studio lamp we were using for lighting and turned off before we were moving it. The space seems back, taking its own voice and colour in the dark until the two humans who’s bothered it, closed its door.

I am checking the space once again. Sneaked up a little bit through its door. And a unique scent from the closed warm room, greeted my nose. 

Noted: All the sentences with italic are a texts conversation from Ruben and me during the project discussion.

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