20 PORNOGRAPHIES Comes to Performance Space New York This October
Performance Space New York continues its second themed season of performances and events-the Posthuman Series-with the U.S. Premiere of choreographer and dancer Mette Ingvartsen's 21 pornographies(October 3-5). The solo performance expands on Ingvartsen's body of work exploring an all-pervasive sexuality, here using physical action and narrative description to take audiences through pornographic history in associative tour de force that is equally stimulating, disturbing, cheerful, and sensuous. Ingvartsen also brings The Permeable Stage - Reimagining the Social, a new installment of her ongoing series of performative conferences, to Performance Space New York (October 7),engaging artists, thinkers, filmmakers, and activists in a dialogue drawing on various Posthuman ideas.
21 pornographies, co-presented by FIAF's Crossing the Line Festival, belongs to a series of works by Ingvartsen called The Red Pieces, all exploring the relationships between sexuality and the public sphere. In 21 pornographies, Ingvartsen was spurred by the idea that pornography saturates everyday society, and is harnessed in everyday imagery-from advertisements, to TV, to design-that alternates excitation and frustration to stimulate consumptive urges. Ingvartsen performs a dense procession of references that stretch from Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom to the 1970s Danish porn and sex comedies to sexualized torture in war. She locates the pornographic in expressions of cruelty, clinical precision, violence and pain, but sometimes also of laughter, excitement, and thrill.
Ingvartsen describes, in an interview with Bojana Cveji?, "Pornography exhibits a variety of political orientations, multiplicity of desires, fantasies and perversions, which I don't judge. But in the overflow of standardized forms of pornographic images we can discern political abuse of power and patterns of representation that merit critical attention...The piece is constructed as a series of frame stories. I have paid special attention to constructing the frames in the piece, so that they expose the way in which something is being shown-the operation of the image. The affective power that manipulative images possess interests me from a critical point of view, how this power can be sensed, laid bare, broken, or resisted."
Just as Ingvartsen makes performances that stimulate the intellect, she also organizes conferences that appeal to the senses. For the Posthuman Series' installment of The Permeable Stage, she invites Patricia T. Clough, Annie Dorsen, Che Gossett, Romuald Karmakar, Isabel Lewis, and Carolee Schneemann into a day-long interdisciplinary dialogue about new relationships between humans, technologies, things, animals, plants, and other matters. The focus of the day is on how to reimagine the social, by including non-humans into the way we think about collective structures and how we live together on this planet. The public is invited to experience how different participants' contributions resonate with one another and to engage in turning the theater into a space for discussion, sensorial occasions, and imaginative exchanges.
Ingvartsen's work mining the politics of the pornographicfittingly follows Annie Dorsen's The Slow Room (the first performance in the Posthuman Series), which subtly nods to Hannah Arendt's theories on totalitarianism as 30 actors perform a text taken verbatim from the lobby of a virtual sex chatroom. For the Posthuman Series, Jenny Schlenzka gathers artists who've taken an active approach to addressing nothing smaller than the morphing state of "humanity." Inspired by thinkers like Donna Haraway ("A Cyborg Manifesto") and Rosi Braidotti (The Posthuman), the Posthuman Series continues the legacy of Performance Space New York to defy categorization and broaden the meaning of "performance," through works that simultaneously seek to question and expand the very definition of "human." The potential impacts of climate change on human populations demonstrate the very absurdity of considering "human" as separate from "nature." And as technology blurs the boundaries between the individual, the collective, and the artificial, the idea of a fixed "human condition" or human "self" continues to lose its logic.
Beyond Ingvartsen and Dorsen's works, the Posthuman Series features Underground Resistance (October 20), keyon gaskin and sidony o'neal (October 26-27), Ron Athey (November 14-17), and more; a group exhibition with Sondra Perry, American Artist, Caitlin Cherry, and Nora N. Khan (October 19-December 16); and a special appearance by Donna Haraway (October 21).
The U.S. premiere performances of 21 pornographies will take place at Performance Space New York (150 1st Avenue, NY, NY, 10009), October 3-5 at 7pm. A post-show talk will take place Thursday, October 4. Full price tickets are $25, and student/senior tickets are $15; they can be purchased at performancespacenewyork.org. 21 pornographies runs 70 minutes.
The Permeable Stage - Reimagining the Socialwill take place at Performance Space New York Sunday, October 7, from 1-9pm. General admission tickets are $15; they can be purchased at performancespacenewyork.org.
Mette Ingvartsen is a Danish choreographer and dancer to whom questions of kinesthesia, perception, affect, and sensation have been crucial. Starting with evaporated landscapes in 2009, a performance for foam, fog, light, and sound, Ingvartsen began a series of propositions that extended choreography into non-human materials. From 2009 to 2014, she focused on a series of works examining artificial nature. Later in 2014, she started a new cycle titled "The Red Pieces." This series opened with 69 positions, questioning the borders between private and public space by placing the naked body in the middle of the theater public. In the second piece, 7 Pleasures, a group of twelve performers confronted notions of nudity, body politics, and sexual practice. Ingvartsen, who holds a Ph.D. in choreography from UNIARTS/Lunds University in Sweden, is engaged in research, as in her performative conference Permeable Stage, which comes to Performance Space New York this fall. Ingvartsen also teaches and gives workshops often related to developing methodologies within choreographic practices.
Founded as Performance Space 122, in 1980, from an explosion of radical self-expression amidst the intensifying American culture wars, Performance Space New York is the birthplace of contemporary performance as it is known today. The early acts that defined the organization's unique role in New York cultural history asserted themselves as living, fleeting, and crucially affordable alternatives to mainstream art and culture of the 1980s and early 90s. Emboldened by the inclusive haven of a tight knit group of artists, performers like Penny Arcade, Ron Athey, Ethyl Eichelberger, Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Holly Hughes, John Kelly, John Leguizamo, Tim Miller, and Carmelita Tropicana, among many others, engaged in radical experimentation and created hybrid works that existed somewhere between dance, theater, poetry, ritual, film, technology and music.
With the renovation and reimagining of its original abandoned public-school building in the East Village completed, Performance Space New York is entering a new, bracing chapter. Under the leadership of recently appointed Executive Artistic Director Jenny Schlenzka, and with state-of-the-art, column-free, high-ceilinged performance spaces, the organization is poised to make a case for the cultural vitality and relevance of performance for the 21st century. Schlenzka brings the idea of themed series to Performance Space New York. As part of a larger multidimensional whole, individual works are juxtaposed to evoke further meaning and push audiences to engage with our contemporary world in illuminating ways.
Returning to a rapidly changing neighborhood during a time marked by divisive and oppressive politics, Performance Space New York builds on its own traditions of integration, political involvement and vehement interdisciplinarity, embodied by artists like niv Acosta, Big Dance Theater, Annie Dorsen, Elevator Repair Service, Tim Etchells, Maria Hassabi, Emily Johnson, Young Jean Lee, Taylor Mac, Richard Maxwell, Sarah Michelson, Rabih Mroué, Okwui Okpokwasili, Reggie Watts, and Adrienne Truscott.
Performance Space New York's lasting presence from the pre-gentrification East Village neighborhood fervently aims to create an open environment for artists and audiences, and thus foster community through performance and discourse-to be a countering force to the often-exclusionary nature of urban development.