You all remember when Pluto was a planet, right? and then was demoted to a star? Devastated, eh? Right! Well I don’t think that Pluto was too concerned…… However, as part of this year’s Transmediale Festival, reSource transmedial culture berlin(www.transmediale.de)at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (http://www.hkw.de) from January 29-February 3 is using this as a title BWPWAP (Back When Pluto Was a Planet) . I have been invited to perform on February 3. It is very exciting for me to develop a new performance piece in response to this theme and to the keynote speaker of the evening, the exuberant Sandy Stone. I have selected four Berlin-based performers to work with me on the performance, which has the title Eier Haben. They are: Anus B. Haven, Anaïs Héraud, Kai Simon Stoeger and Viola. Here is a description that I wrote for the catalogue:
Testicles are complex sexualized entities. Just as curvaceous hips sway side to side, testicles roll up and down. This is not conscious. The cremaster muscle keeps testicles involuntarily on the move. However, since the war, ground level chemicals have invaded the male anatomy sneaking through the hormone receptors as estrogen, and systematically depleting the crown jewels.
Uncertain belonging stimulates a sense of non-ownership; effects a planetary drifting between imagined states of being. You arrive in a new place and you can’t get the ticket machine to work. A queue forms behind you and you are struggling to find the right number of coins because the machine doesn’t take notes. It’s a different currency and you need to look closely at each coin to figure out its denomination. You can feel the bodies tensely impatient behind you. Irritated by your incompetence. Your understanding of the language is deficient and you panic and press the wrong space on the screen. The woman behind is becoming extremely exasperated. You can feel her exasperation increasing by degrees, pressing in on you. She is judging you – your shoes, your hair, your shabby jacket, finding reasons to back up her irritation which is quickly transforming to hatred. You glance back and see all the angry faces attached to heads jutting out left and right, of the increasing assembly of potential passengers. They all want to catch the same train that leaves in four minutes. A desire suddenly dawns in you.
And now a note from our sponsors…..
“Next year, the title of the festival is “BWPWAP – Back When Pluto Was a Planet” through which we are taking the 2006 demotion of Pluto in the planetary system as a metaphor for different shifts that take place within network culture, identity and society. In our conference we are investigating the changing of cultural imaginary through artistic practice and media research, through a methodology of “estrangement”: we will follow a set of threads that are all familiar domains of everyday-life in contemporary culture such as “Networks”, “Users”, “Paper” and “Desire”. By saying that they are BWPWAP we are displacing them, making them strange: on the one hand declaring them somewhat obsolete but on the other getting them ready for renewal. As with Pluto itself, these threads are “objects” in crisis: their identity is not to be taken for granted in the post-digital age as is evident in the cultural, political and economical shifts that they are all undergoing. The state of crisis is taken as an opportunity for artistic intervention and identity reflection. In each thread we find new ways to engage with the histories, practices and futures of these familiar objects that are investigated according to the time and place shifting logic of BWPWAP.
Your performance would be scheduled in the context of our conference stream “Desire” which aims to address social and cultural contradictions without solving them, but rather leaving them open to new interpretations. The (queer) idea of “uncertain belonging” generates a multiple perspective, where the flow of sense-desire becomes a way to re-imagine bodies, identities and subjectivity – and at the same time an input to analyze the contemporary production of pleasure and subjectivity, via the discussion on experiences able to cross past, present, and future.”
I hope to see you all on February 3 in the audience of the auditorium of Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.