Every displacement of the body involves “staying and occupation.” Whether traveling, visiting and residing or migrating, in exile or wandering, every long or short-term stay ultimately becomes some sort of occupation. One’s entry into a space implies changing the habitual dynamics between individuals and their environment, just like an intruder occupies a physical location, changing its outward appearance while also bringing psychological fluctuations and imbalances. Every time we stop movement, the space we have occupied is not only the terrain under our feet, but also the mental space we share with others. This change does not only occur in one direction: the occupier must also face the tensions of an unfamiliar environment, as well as the impalpable interactions between him or her, the outside world and others.
“Stay and Occupation” — the theme of artist Nabuqi’s residency program at DawanArt in Paris (05/05-31/07) — is on some level a continuation of her perennial interest in the relationship between subject and space, that has further evolved into an exploration about the urban landscape. These questions were dominant in her 2015 sculpture solo exhibition Parallel and her installation Strange View participating in the 2016 Shanghai Biennale. Now, Nabuqi has extended her reflection to Paris. Alms cups placed in front of those who are forced to call the street their home, footsteps captured from café terraces, sound clips collected from the noise of Parisian parks — Nabuqi has reconstructed and reconfigured these symbolic objects of staying and occupation” in this exhibition space, giving form to the intense and ineffable inner movements of a passing guest.
Nabuqi does not seek to pass judgement; her intention is to allow these tensions to hang in space, evoking this description from Julio Cortázar’s short story House Taken Over: “We stood listening to the noises, growing more and more sure that they were on our side of the oak door, if not the kitchen then the bath, or in the hall itself at the turn, almost next to us.”