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A PUBLIC EXHIBITION

DIE AUSPEITSCHUNG

  A PUBLIC EXHIBITION traces the occult origins of the myth of the virtuality of digital experience, reconnecting it through performance with the lived reality of the sex worker. The audience is met by two female ushers dressed as strippers and must sign a contract to gain entry to the performance space, where the performer (me) executes three characters: the first - FERRYMAN/JANITOR - character is based on Kharon, the guardian of passage to the underworld in Greek myth. The second, the CAMERA/GIRL is based on the transcription of an interview I conducted with an online sex worker. ALETHEIA/MEDIATRIX  hosts of the show and controls all light, sound, and video elements. Her name contains a reference to the 'Lethe' River of forgetting or oblivion on the way to the underworld, and is the word used by Heidegger to describe truth. The performance is an attempt to get to grips with the way realities and identities are constructed and forgotten online“

 

Isn't reality an insatiable AIDS-riddled whore.” -Roberto Bolaño, 2666

Die Auspeitschung [the Scourging] was a performance installation commissioned by Anne Heesen for the Volksbühne. It was shown at the Volksbühne Pavillion at the Gedenkfeier [memorial celebration] for Christoph Schlingensief*  on 6 November 2010, and reported by Die Zeit, Hamburger Zeitung, and Berliner Morgenpost, among others. The description of the work above is adapted from the original German performance text.

 

*Christoph Schlingensief brought theatre, life and art to the street, and was posthumously awarded a 2011 Venice Biennale Golden Lion. Check him out.

  On 24 October 2010, the IAGW (Institute of Applied History) traveled to Wagner's Bayreuth Festspielhaus to conduct a scourging there. The building is made to atone for Schlingensief's assessment that it had mde him fatally ill.

  The scourging is arranged for Christoph Schlingensief. The party of mourners find each other at a corner of the Festspielhaus. Melodion music is heard to give the people the chance to assemble. The public which has traveled from the present watches the thing {die Sache} unfold. Without pause, music once more. The people shake hands, or go simply into themselves to reflect.

  In the summer of 2007 another scourging befell the Berlin Cathedral. This line of scourgings can be traced back to the 15th-Century scourging of a church bell by Giarolamo Savonarola, before his death on the bonfire of the vanities.  

  Just as meaning and sorrow are manifested in different eras as different feelings every person must encounter in their own way, so too are punishment, mourning and salvation. Visitors from the future can cut themselves into the video, and so travel back in time to take part.

Auspeitschung audience

  ORIGIN explores how to create ritual space in communities no longer bound by shared cosmogonies. The performance draws on a ancient ritual practices from  around the world of binding objects and people with cord to contain and direct spiritual energies. The performance hypthesizes ritual fields analogous to the fields produced by encircling a magnet in current-carrying wire.

  Using the practice of Japanese bondage, ORIGIN wields taboo associations of sadomasochism and torture as ritual tools against outmoded ideologies of 'freedom' and 'the individual', made totemic in the figure of ‘the artist’. Taboos form a system of anti-rules, itemizing circumscribed behaviours and denoting ritual tools.

  EEG findings show bondage augments psychophysical changes produced by tight binding to a state of profound, receptive trance. The artist's surrendered body becomes a site of kinaesthetic communication. Inhabiting a tension between spiritual and political realities, the performance asks what it is to be an individual. And whether collectivity might be achieved by surrendering our 'selves'.

An Acheulian project based on the 10,000 year-old unbroken oral tradition of Finnish runoja. Set in an archive, UNMASKED explores Europe's most ancient culture based on a lived relationship to a landscape holding vital wisdom for an era confronting the threat of climate change - and what is destroyed in attempts to preserve it. Awarded a Kone Foundation Saari Fellowship. Highly commended by the judges of Deptford X Festival 2015. Selected for the Camden People's Theatre Being European Festival 2016. Full details here.

UNMASKED

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'Conversations with Finland: Toward a Revolution of Events' Post-show conversation with Tero Mustonen of Snowchange Cooperative at Deptford X 2015.

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