I am several metres of chain that slide through your fingers to the floor with a metallic clang. Sometimes softly like the patter of rain, sometimes more abruptly, creating a soundscape for the performance. I am a leash, I embrace soft objects in gentle bondage. I am pulled, I am dragged. I am suspended in a tug-of-war of oppositional desires, then dropped with a clang. I am music. I am resistance, I am firm. I am a household artefact, smooth and cold to your touch. I am also capture, holding you against your will, bruising your surface in no longer gentle bondage, but exciting you with the feeling of being contained. I am warmed by the touch of your lips and slide under the ceramic of your teeth, as your mouth closes over me. I am playful, I dangle from the ceiling, crashing over the pipes above when suddenly pulled. Like a lure, swaying from above, I enter your mouth slowly, reminding many of a magician’s trick. Swallowing flames becomes swallowing chains.
I am a piece of meat, a torso, perhaps a human body part. Pink on the outside, I dangle on the end of a chain as if above a butcher’s counter, my insides held in place by a web of strings and chains. I am a chaotic mess, I am a sculpture. I am carried like a hunting trophy, hanging from the makeshift crucifix of a plastic tube and a piece of wood borrowed from a garden shed. Backs bend under my weight, I am an object of worship, an idol, a centrepiece for your pagan rituals and strange magic. I am sacrifice, I am flesh. Fingers pry inside me, exploring my cavities and parting my layers to exploit my riches. I spill my insides, tubular, transparent and long. I am a chaotic mess. My intestines become connection, hot breaths on their insides mixed with saliva, they are lifelines of interpersonal contact. Mouths blow, suck and gasp for air, my intestines are pipelines of human exhaust.
I am slowly taken apart. My tail, my appeal, my pride, magnificently and proudly protruding with its long, shiny hair, that many want to run their fingers through and touch, is taken from me. I feel dispossessed, and then, to mark a dramaturgical highpoint, I am smashed.
I am the tube of a hoover, an extension of your breath, I am an instrument. I am a skirt of hair, white-blonde, I wrap myself around your head. I am your costume, porous and black, I climb up your legs like a spiderweb, precariously hugging your crotch in a tight but airy embrace. I am a gooish-bluish blob, squeezed and formed by your hands like a piece of clay, I try to slip through your fingers, leaving a liquid trace, before you drop me with a plop. I am a phallocentric bouquet, subservient to your desires, each of my members colourful, elongated and tightly wrapped. First, I hang as an ornament, then I end up in your hands, in many hands and many mouths. I am a gag, I feel your hot breath on one end. I join in the dance, I wiggle between the firm bite of your teeth, funny and ridiculous perhaps. I am a gag. I am a voodoo doll, colourful, elongated and tightly wrapped.
We are the dancers, we are singular but act in plural, sharing gestures, movements and temperaments. We explore through touch, bites, push-and-pull. Some might say that we are in the oral phase, as more things pass through our mouths than our hands. But we are not concerned with Freudian concepts of psychosexual development. We relish the sensuality and intimacy of our surroundings, the surfaces, the shapes, the things that we encounter. We get in touch. We co-exist and co-perform. We utter sounds without wanting to transform them into words. We reach out to the other as partner. We reach out and grab. We reach out and caress. We reach out and let you enter our mouths. We reach out and pull you towards us. We explore cavities, nooks and crannies. We are thorough and exhaustive, our fingers part and pry. We are inseparable, like the elastic full-body jumpsuit that wraps one of us in a skin-tight hug and from which the only release is the abundant sweat that squirts and spills over the collar. We inhabit our space, our stage, as if it were an atemporal cave adorned with delicate drawings, intricate puzzles of our transgressive desires. We fight over a bone in animalistic frenzy. One of us advances with a slender telescopic tube, a spear in his hand, poised and prehistoric. Some may wonder: when are we and where are we?
The soft drone of electronic music reconnects us with what most of us experience as reality. Disengaging from our object-partners, we embrace our autonomous, singular dancing selves in a choreography that offers glimpses of familiarity.
Special thanks to Aziza Harmel and Julia Zastava for their feedback.
Katalin Erdődi is an independent curator, dramaturg and researcher working in the fields of contemporary performing and visual arts since 2004. In 2019, she joined the Municipal Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna as curator for independent theatre, dance and performance. Erdődi has worked as a curator for art institutions and festivals, such as steirischer herbst (Graz), brut/imagetanz festival (Vienna), GfZK – Museum of Contemporary Art (Leipzig), Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art (Budapest), PLACCC Festival (Budapest) and Trafó House of Contemporary Arts (Budapest), as well as for self-organised platforms, including the experimental music and performance series Der Blöde Dritte Mittwoch (Vienna). In addition to her curatorial work, Erdődi has also collaborated as a dramaturgy advisor/outside eye with Vienna-based performance artists, such as Gin Müller, Oleg Soulimenko, Sööt/Zeyringer and Doris Uhlich. As an author/editor she writes for various journals, including tranzitblog, Mezosfera, Színház, etcetera – Performing Arts Magazine and Bildpunkt.
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