Sensorial experience across distance

Rita Hoofwijk & Hannah Loewenthal

Being Here for You is an ongoing work by Dutch artist Rita Hoofwijk and South African artist Hannah Loewenthal, living and working far apart. It began as a response to the situation of lockdowns and the impossibility of relocating themselves and their work. They asked: Do you have to see something with your own eyes, hold it with your own hands in order for an experience to be considered ‘real’? Would it be possible to ask someone else to be your eyes, ears, hands? These questions resulted in an ongoing exchange consisting of (im)possible requests and led to the following question: Is it possible to make work for another? As an exploration of this last question geographically distant artists, partners and sites are connected in an exchange to create in-situ work, without travelling physically. 


'To embody something' is to surround the body with it. The body and the physical-sensorial experience is used as the way into the work. As an approach for SWG this might happen for example by seeing, hearing, touching on someone's request.



What happens to the authorship (and potentially copyright) when the line between artists, local collaborators, participants and other contributors gets blurred in a Showing without Going situation? (i.e. when in need of heavy local creative input, or co-creation)

Address as an explicit content
Address as implicit content


What is “live”. What do we mean by ‘liveness’. Why does it so often appear in quote marks?

And by extension, what is a ‘live artist’ especially good at?

There are so many understandings of this word in performance. Within a Showing Without Going context, it might be best to think of them all as useful in some way,  rather than trying to close down definitions.


live - on its own, the imperative form of the verb which means the opposite of to die. Don’t die: live!

A live concert - this usually means music played in the moment in front of a bodily-present audience, but you might be listening or watching a recording of it.

A live debate / football match / news programme - as used often in TV to denote something happening at the same time as you’re watching it. “Live and direct.”

Live action - (mostly used in film performance) - involving real people or animals, as contrasted with animation or computer-generated effects.


We can probably say that liveness is what we look or yearn for in performance more than anything else. A certain vivacity, an awareness of the here-and-now and that one's presence as spectator or witness is required. That what is happening can only happen live - any other form would either be documentation or a compromise. 

With this in mind, how do we make sure that Showing Without Going does not mean compromising on liveness? Bearing in mind the familiar sense of dissatisfaction with digital experiences (screens experienced as barriers, connectivity issues, digital fatigue...) 

Is it possible to create liveness / movement / solidity / vivacity, in the imagination?