Friday, 5 December 2008

'Not to be larger than life', by Theron Schmidt

Irene Loughlin and Jorge Manuel de Leon, Kiss
4 December 2008

Irene Loughlin, from Canada, and Jorge Manuel de Leon, from Guatemala, stand naked across the room from each other. It has only been one day since they first met each other in person since a half hour together in Guatemala City in 2002. This meeting in Bern is the result of four months of internet-based planning, and in their programme notes they situate it as a response to Carolee Schneemann’s film Fuses (1965)


They face each other for several minutes while the audience gathers. They then walk toward each other, cover their heads in a white muslin shroud, and kiss. Over the next half hour, they embrace, kiss for sustained durations both under and outside the shroud, stitch red thread through the skin above their hearts, and hold each other almost continuously. They both tremble slightly throughout the piece.

After twenty minutes, a woman in the audience suddenly interrupts what had been a persistent silence. ‘Should we not stop them?’ she asks, in English. ‘Isn’t that democracy?’ A few moments later, she plaintively declares, as a judgment whose meaning she must assume needs no further explanation, ‘2008!’ Failing with this word to bring an end to the performance, she adds one more exclaimed word, ‘Bern!’ Whether or not as a result of this intervention, a few minutes later a large proportion of the audience starts to leave. The performance continues for another ten minutes.


Because you are trying to make something new. To birth it into being. To make love real. To make real love. To be of use. To make something new, to be remembered. To be watched, to be held in mind. To be written about. To be allowed to speak for yourself. For you to shake at the touch, to be tasted, to be at the interior of feeling, to be shrouded in memory. To be sewn through the skin to this moment for a while. To be awkward in your beauty. Not to fill the room, not to be larger than life, not to surpass yourself. To be boring. To be kitsch. To be unworthy. To be lost causes. To be unaccepted. To be inexcusable. To be without excuse of documents or reason. To be wrong. To be wrong for 2008. To be wrong for Bern. To be no longer relevant. To be of some other year, but not this year. To be welcome in some other city, but not this city. To be unresolved sex when sex has been resolved. To be your race when race has lost interest. To be silent. To answer with nothing. To be sweat and to be trembling. To be too serious, too earnest, too hopeless, too lost. To cling to the past. To hold fiercely, to hold tenderly, to hold weakly and fallibly. To be desperate in longing. To be less than enough but to be what there is. To refuse to be any more important than this. To know your place. To be your skin, your wounds, your pain, and your pleasure. To be lost in your finding of each other. To be no more than this. To be ignorant of the future. To herald no dawn. To be here now. And then to be gone.

3 comments:

vitale daseinserfahrung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vitale daseinserfahrung said...

"To be boring. To be kitsch. To be unworthy. To be lost causes. To be unaccepted. To be inexcusable. To be without excuse of documents or reason. To be wrong."

wow, your text reflects itself - what a great discourse machine!

the crisis of the crisis... practicing 2nd order transcendental pseudo-phenomenology you even don't have to refer to edmund or maurice first. well done ;)

hamilton artists inc. said...

Hello Theron
I very much admire your text, it captures perfectly the essence of the performance, your text like an artwork, needs to be considered in its entirety, as a poetic work.
Thank you for your sensitive and considered analysis.
Irene Loughlin