Frames of reference in a dotted room

Martina Ruhsam on and and by Lisa Hinterreithner
© Eva Würdinger
Martina Ruhsam on and and by Lisa Hinterreithner

Large black plastic shapes are floating in a brightly lit room, which is both cool and warm at the same time. Green, blue and yellow fluorescent tubes. and. Spectator stands in the middle of the room, next to a mixing console. and. Pieces of coloured adhesive tape form a mist of dots on some of the walls. and. The musician goes to the DJ desk. and. Two women. In street chic. Identical jeans, sneakers, fashionable tracksuit tops, caps. Lounging on the windowsill. and and. In the beginning a word is formed: MODEL. Model of all things, really? It’s formulated onto the wall with adhesive dots. One of the performers is posing beside the letters – leaning coolly against the wall. and. The writing becomes a surtitle of her figure, a commentary of her body. Or does her body comment on the word? And so a will is imposed on the wall, a mist of dots has become writing that adds an ascription to the body. A drawer of words has been opened. If you get too close, you’ll become a representative. and. Dots are handed on. The floor the women are standing on, against a dotted background, is covered in partly black, partly pink dots. They start to transfer the dotted room onto their bodies. Only to return the dots to the room again. and. They become part of the pattern on the floor, on the back wall, which also displays unfamiliar characters formed by adhesive tape. MODEL becomes FUCK OFF MODEL. Language and writing serve to determine territories and locate identities. Two bodies in front of a surface of inscriptions on dotted terrain (or territory?) that expands onto the bodies and retreats back to the floor again. and. Deleuze and Guattari differentiated between a smooth space of openness and boundlessness, which they regarded as the space of nomads, and a striated space of boundaries and regulations, which they defined as the space of sedentaries. Striated space stands for territorial attribution and allocation, for making behaviours uniform, while the smooth space, as an area of indistinguishabilities, stands for openings, deterritorialisation and diverse behaviours. In smooth space, materials are forces or symbols; in striated space, matter is organised by way of forms. and. For Deleuze and Guattari, the sea is the paradigmatic smooth space, but is still “most likely to be faced with the demands of an increasingly stringent striation”.[1]

and and. Two women toiling away at striations – handing on markings, creating similarities in the process (both are dotted pink), making themselves identifiable as belonging together and as being present in this setting. and. All of a sudden: “Which group do you belong to?” Exhausted, both women lie in the sea of dots – nothing moves. They know each other well. So tired of this tension. The serenity with which this question is asked suggests a longing for a smooth space. “Exclusion mechanisms and identitary self-placements emerge by way of one’s own perception of being either here or there.”[2] Affiliations are recited with subtle irony: “I am a feminist.” “I am a feminist with a proletarian background.” “I am a bourgeois feminist with a working-class background.” “I am…” and and in the jungle of identity templates that become increasingly differentiated, which makes their alleged universality seem more and more absurd. and. The room contaminates the bodies in it. They mark each other. Become part of the patterns, yield to the setting. They assimilate. And yet they fundamentally change the room. The electronic soundscape created live by Elise Mory in a dialogue with the performers condenses the space and evokes associations with films by Kaurismäki. and and. A conversation about victimology, the rash classification into victims and offenders: an achievement of the small dotted society with its pseudo-political pigenhole systems. Jump quickly to one side and never dance on both sides at the same time. Overhastily identifying with victims has the advantage of no longer being part of the problem. “If something happens to you that you did not cause and that you cannot control, it’s abuse. If you are part of the problem, then it’s a conflict”, Sarah Schulman, whom choreographer Lisa Hinterreithner references, said in an interview about social worker Catherine Hodes. “She says that we are in a situation where people reflexively exaggerate their suffering and immediately respond to anything that is perceived as contradictory by protesting their innocence rather than showing a willingness to discuss the issue.” and. The two women stick their dots on everything. Enough about and. Either – or. Dotted or not dotted? Part of this setting or not? Black or pink? Victim or perpetrator? Left or right? Virgin or whore? Being in the room or being like the room? and. A face hidden in the previously floating plastic shape. Deleuze and Guattari contemplated the perverse body as opposed to the theological body, claiming that the perverse body is perverse on account of its ability to doubt. Neither left nor right, neither at the beginning nor at the end. An and-body. and. If differentiation doesn’t suppress the undifferentiated that is fragmented within it. What would a body be that reserved any definitions and refused to make self-assertions at the cost of repressing that which it is not or has not yet become? and and ends with a song of exhaustion, with two women lying on the floor, and with a desire for more optimism. So tired of this tension.


Martina Ruhsam, born in Linz, is an artist, theoretician and lecturer. Her artistic works and collaborations have been presented at various European institutions. She was a member of the editorial board of Corpus and Maska and worked in the theory department of Tanzquartier Wien from 2008 to 2009. She published the monograph Kollaborative Praxis: Choreographie in 2011. She has been working as a research associate and lecturer at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen since 2016, where she is currently completing her doctoral thesis.


[1] Gilles Deleuze/Félix Guattari, “Das Glatte und das Gekerbte”, in: Jörg Dünne/Stephan Günzel (ed.), Raumtheorie. Grundlagentexte aus Philosophie und Kulturwissenschaften, Frankfurt am Main 2006, p. 434.


More texts in TQW MAGAZIN

Give feedback to