There is not simply “the enemy”, and it is not always “over there.” Rather, the enemy might be a lover, a friend; it might dwell in the heart, and resist being pinned down to the position of perpetrator – or victim; and named war, or capitalism, or patriarchy one might like to fight it over there, while enjoying its profits right here. –Antke Engel
A curtain, two performers, inside the remnants of an old public swimming pool. The performers claim to be representatives of an underground organization. The curtain is set up for their anonymity. The public is long gone, the place seems abandoned. Once the curtain is removed, another one appears. This one, pink zebra, fuses the war technique of camouflage with the stylishness of homo-outfits and becomes a showcase for the entrance of large amounts of smoke. The dense smoke perhaps stems from bombings, or it is set off as a signal during a political demonstration. Later a speech is delivered, based on a text by Jean Genet. Its topic? The desire for a proper faultless enemy. It opens up the question of how to move forward in a war or a fight for resistance without any declared and ‘visible’ enemy.
Do the curtains and fumes grant the “right to opacity” (Edouard Glissant) to the bodies that they mask and disguise? Or do they blur the dividing lines between same and other, between accomplices and enemies?
Performance: Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Werner Hirsch
To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation
Six performers are pushing towards a paradigm shift in the future. They are following the score “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation,“ which the composer Pauline Oliveros wrote in 1970 after reading the text “Scum Manifesto“ by Valerie Solanas (who is also known for shooting Andy Warhol).
Oliveros‘s composition asks the performers to choose five pitches each and to play very long tones, modulated or unmodulated. In the middle section of the piece the performers are invited to imitate each other‘s pitches and modulations. The cues in this piece are given collectively through light – a red section is followed by a yellow and a blue section, and there are two additional cues given by strobe light. If anyone becomes dominant, the rest of the group should come up and absorb that dominance back into the texture of the piece, “expressing at the deep structure what the SCUM Manifesto meant. … It was really out of that understanding of both community and the individual–which was in her manifesto–that became the principle, or the philosophy, of the music that I began to write.“ (Oliveros)
The piece “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation“ values the unpredictable and unknowable possibilities that might be activated by not specifying pitches and rhythms. Nothing is known in advance of making the music. The instructions are chosen in order to insist on “a continuous circulation of power“ (Oliveros) between listening and sounding – a give and take that requires, as Oliveros says, an unusual attention to the relationship between oneself and others. The film introduces the 16mm-camera as an additional performer, who constantly moves and interacts with individuals or groups of performers. The whole performance of the piece is shot in one continuous take, while only the editing process introduces extreme close ups which highlights a fetishist interest into details of bodies, instruments and costumes.
The work poses the question of the possibilities and limits of a politics of musical and filmic forms. Can sounds, rhythms and light produce queer relations? Can they become revolutionary?
Performance: Rachel Aggs, Peaches, Catriona Shaw, Verity Susman, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, William Wheeler