Jimmy Offesson on DEAD

DEAD takes place behind black curtains. Before entering, shoes are taken off and instructions are given. The main characters stand as two heroines in the entrance. Dressed in black, their faces covered in black and white make-up, upholding strong poses. Entering means squeezing myself onto them, thus touch is inevitable. This first touch with the piece is intimate, intimidating and has a strong sense of pride.

Two big tables close to the entrance are filled with white roses. A technician sits to the left cornered in the corner. Further in, there is a an elevation, a stage, filled with lit candles. The rest of the room is filled with chairs, placed with a fair amount of space around each. That is very relaxing and welcoming, since I am appreciating been given a sense of “my own space”. I wonder if this derives from scandinavian cultural mechanisms, or an effect of the individualism meme we’re supposed to having a lot of at this moment in history or if it’s just about me.

Somehow, the aesthetics brings me instantly to certain rural places of Scandinavia. Indoor places that exhibits posters of Motörhead, AC/DC, Metallica together with imagery on tv screens depicting Dragon Age, Skyrim. Next to these, on a shelf, are also DVDs of True Blood, Lesbian Vampire Killers, The Crow, Rammstein in Amerika and different updated versions of The Exorcist. DEAD’s movement, imagery and soundscape draw attention to these scandinavian forms for melancholy, nostalgia and pride, no matter how much of it that might be intellectually further traced to celtic, american or other sources.

This “world” is their starting position and their maintained pose throughout the piece, visually echoing in my head. Against this, within this they move, enhancing it with rapid contractions that conjures shakings. Tounges, heads and core muscles rattle to heavy metal, and I am especially touched by the scene where one of the women shakes herself to the extent that the details of the skin become blurry. Like fierce brush strokes in a renaissance painting.

DEAD also incorporates religious behaviours into their choreography. The first steps onto the stage is made solemnly, as if walking up the altar; the last gesture of handing out wine to everyone in the room, as a religious gesture of sharing; the use of anaphors, the calling out to the manifold of vaginal shapes, moves like preaching, as does the gesture of holding a book when verbally reciting depictions of menopause, menstrual flow, squirting etc.

The movements build up as a striving for extacy, for primalcy. Gestures channeling the energy of the clitoris into the room, creating vibrations that make me look at the others. Are they aroused? Are they embarrassed? Curious?

Movements are tactile in many ways: the vibration from the loudspeakers, the use of bright light, words of skin/flesh/blood, the pose of a human riding on the back of another, tongue touching tongue, the occasional touch when moving through people, the throwing of a rose in a crowded room, specific movements making the potential orgasm present.

Still, situated in MDT, on Skeppsholmen, somehow makes the piece weird, maybe as in giving the piece a space to distance itself from the world it creates behind black curtains. At one side, being immersed within the topic of womanhood, and even maybe feminism, the piece also, at the other side, brings in irony and humor through the use of symbolic actions and what they refer to.

Jimmy Offesson