Performance: Pink Eye
>> What do we know when we see someone? In Pink Eye, Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe tests our gaze and the individual filters that we use to categorize people – in her case: black, female, artist, and mother. Referencing Maurice Merleau-Ponty, ‘cast a critical eye on the gaze’ could very well be the motto of the visual artist and choreographer, whose work deals with the (self-) manipulation of bodies in Western Europe, in the Afro-Austrian diaspora, and in Congolese society.¹ How can the gaze be reconquered, broken, diverted? Tambwe loves to push boundaries. Again, according to Merleau-Ponty, man in his ambiguity perceives neither pure consciousness nor pure physicality. Tambwe’s performance relishes the subversion of contrasts between subject and object, stage and backstage, cultivation and trash, as well as individual and cliché. The term ‘pink eye’ refers to both rose-colored glasses and an eye infection – both are clouded vision. Bit by bit, Tambwe peels off a corset of expectations, to stage a truly sensual look behind the mirror.
¹ PINK EYE (19.02.2018)
Music: Battle-Ax, fAUNA, Amen
>> Can we trace how our bodies physically experience the considerable effects of accelerated technological advancements and resulting social change?¹ The fast-moving and genre-breaking compositions of Beatrix Curran, a.k.a. Battle-ax, and Rana Farahani, a.k.a. Fauna, hint at the consequences of these dramatic developments.
The artists are amongst the many contemporary cultural producers reflecting on the mood of our rapidly changing world. Although in different form, both Battle-ax and Fauna’s performances convey the feelings of insecurity and unease triggered in people. The distorted, quivering notes of Battle-ax’s viola powerfully inhabit the space and audience, while Fauna’s deconstructed vocals and trance-like tracks invoke feelings of disorientation² and echoes of an uncertain future. These feelings are further amplified by electronic background tracks that are the result of multiple collaborations, bestowing on the production the flair of a film score, replacing the moving image with that of our imagination.
Battle-ax has returned yet again to performance art recently, and her concert at the Biennial Innsbruck International marks a first: Her highly emotive work engages with Bruno Mokross’s percussion and electronic fragments of DJ Paypal, and through this collaboration brings her artistry to a new level. Fauna’s portion of the concert builds on and solidifies the electronic elements of Battle-ax’s performance. Aleksandar Vučenović, a.k.a. AMEN, then follows with his DJ set to definitively transport us into the futurist world of hybrid club music.
¹ Heiser, J. (2015), Doppelleben. Hamburg: Philo Fine Arts, p. 481.
² Wiener Festwochen, Fauna (01.03.2018)
Texts: Nicole Alber (Performance), Christian Glatz (Music)
Special thanks to Christian Neururer GmbH.