Josefin Gladh on DEAD

April -97. Spring light and a crowd of children and teachers all facing the same direction. I am 9 years old and the school has arranged a festival with events and performances for everyone who wants to participate. At the temporary out door stage stands my classmates Simon, Viktor, Jesper dressed up as their idols; Kizz. Their little children faces now unrecognizable painted in the characteristic monstrous black and white, their nine-year-old tongues stretching out as tiny spears as they scream and roll their eyes. Boundless/Unrestrained//Angry/Ugly/Frightening. I look at them, exhilarated, in envy and in awe. Because I know this is crazy and cool (crazy cool). And although I’m not capable of expressing it, I know I can’t do what they do. On that stage, like that, that´s not my place.

When I now watch Amanda Apetrea & Halla Ólafsdottir perform DEAD By Beauty and the Beast at MDT in Stockholm it is therefore a redress for that little girl. A redress for all the unscreamed screames and lack of uglyness and the well defined spaces. It acutally functions like that, like at (dirty) mirror forcing me again and again to confront the inner voice that whispers ”no no no WHAT are you doing THAT IS NOT A ALLOWED!” Then slowly inverted into satisfaction. But in contrast to their flesh shaking freedom I feel my own body stiffens, still being uncomfortable and unrelieved.

We are invited in a traditional male space, the ritual room of poetry or jazz or rock and roll or monsters. I think about the vamp(ire) and that I don´t find the goth estetics appealing, never have. That is soon forgotten though, as an alternative version of Beat poetry inflate the room with an intensity that is breathtaking. Halla Ólafsdottir hurl the words against us like those dumdum bullets that explode as they hit a body. I am thinking of that – the beat generation method, to name yourself in order to become what you want to be (already are).

It is with caring vulgarity we are lead into a familiar but new symbolic order. Seriousity and humour interlaced in this strange kind of communion, with the dramturgically klimax of a crucifiction/celebration that bewitch you.

Josefin Gladh