Liv Strand on DEAD


Entering the room, showing my ticket. Taking off my shoes mimicking others in the audience. Not hearing someone asking us, I just unwillingly follow. Becoming part of the public, loosing my individuality. A woman reads a letter from the protagonists telling us that we might be touched upon but that we can not touch them out our personal wishes. Nudity is announced. It is delivered almost as a warning, I am amazed to be warned as this is a common costume in contemporary art. It must mean that they will wear it in an unusual fashion. We are there, the crowd of the public, polite and patient as a cultural group of people assembled, still strategically pushing to be able to get into the room in the room to get a good position. An group behaving like the groups I imagine outside infamous shopping center Ullared when they are about to open. A crowd, a group defined by a shared need, a possible mob.



We enter the room in the room, covered in satin as a cushioned jewelry box. Black. A womb. A tomb. Pushing oneself past the two protagonists with painted faces and hairy clothes. If a womb they are the pubic hair, if a tomb they are the guardians. There are chairs for the crowd, socks softly stepping across the satin floor. The two women rise onto an elevated platform in the front. The light shifts and some flood lights turn red. A line of jigsaw teeth framing red mouth openings. The rite can go on. A pill each and soon enough the couple open their red bloody gaps grimacing the black and white painted faces into heavy metal style. Wide spread legs, fronting open torsos and hips with loads of attitude. All roads is still possible to take. The wide glittering mouths and the bright red get me thinking about scent. The mouth and the nose joins in providing sensations of taste and smelling. The room reminds of licorice and raspberry candy and the smell is artificial just as these rubber sweets but in a more cold way, not metallic as the iron taste of blood, not animal-like as from human sweat or grease, rather the cold scent of all the box fresh textile enclosing us. They lick each others tongues. As cats. They are a couple doing each other. The animal in the humans is present and the materialization of the tongues. And the hair. And the dehumanization of the face, the first place to seek for recognition of social intercourse. Interplay. I am following these transformations from my location amongst the crowd. Suddenly they want to read poetry to us, to their mum, to all cunts. I want to cry NO out, as the narrative is floating so nicely already, I am in the stream. They are already forming a motely crew there up at the podium. Then the dark poetry intonation enter the space. A low pitch hissing vocal. Growl. A search on wikipedia to target the right subculture tell that the growl technique goes back to the Vikings and that it can be carried out without physical harm. The growls share texts about the vagina, the female genitals. It forms to an act of emancipation, hailing this hidden cavity to the most central place. Sentence by sentence they growl me to a intellectual sphere where human holes, as passages possible to enter without wounding, gets spinning in my mind. Visual artist Kristina Matousch foster a long obsession with all human holes in a very clinical and factual approach. On stage a juicy and far more explicit celebration is going on. Focusing the cunt. And all possible treatment of a pussy. Their hunger, sung out as text, expand the field of bodily entrance to stabbing, to metal, and by that to an imagined eternal ownership. My intellectual me wonder what they want to show me. My co-sensations has shifted into co-imagining. Looking thinking. I eat with my eyes. I am looking at them. I am part of the crowd watching. It is a ménage à trois, the couple and the public. What do they want from us? We are a mere bleak cultural group of people, pleasant and well behaving. It manifest as an applause follow each reading. They take turn, we applaud. Loud. It is outspoken. We smile. We know the cunt. It is for sure a grand place.



Then the two women enter the crowd. They caress some of us, not too intimate. Then they stab us. Or no, they do not stab us, they only make the gesture of doing so. They mimic breaking our necks, they mimic us being slaughtered. We are announced dead. I guess they like to throw us out of the threesomeness. I’m puzzled and a bit uncomfortable having a hard time following me passing away. Where am I now? I’m still in the crowd, sitting on a chair. Absent. Thinking of my own relation to mimicry, that it is possible to mimic the things you know, or the things the people you present this to knows. I know people passing away. I have been close to that moment when life ends. I know nothing about ritual murders. I can’t even relate to the urge to commit one. I have to let my mind escape to some heavy metal fans telling how much humor there is in the culture of heavy metal, do they mimic this humor? I have been working on a piece with a colleague where I longed for us to mimic killing one another. My wish came out of that we are all the time encountering killings in television series, they are almost a must in order to present some old fashion relational drama. We rehearsed and we workshoped killings and then we were still too embarrassed to include them in the staged work. What is all this uncommented violence preparing us for? I still wonder. I drift, you can hear me. My eyes follow the ladies, now there are two platforms in the back of the room, they ascend. No, they do not just ascend, as closing up to the platform Amanda and Halla have started to undress. Their woman outlines is emphasized by bonds. They look great, features of confidence and muscles and tender skin. They take turn in naming the cunt, the pussy, personated ones: the dry one, a cherry etc. They call upon this cavity. A tit rocking commences. The movements and the celebration of the women features gets married. Moving along with heavy metal, shaking asses with a forceful momentum. Rocking rhythmically. Almost violent. We want to celebrate with them. But we are somewhat restricted by being the cultural cluster of people that we are. I can’t help wishing for this work of art to be presented at a burlesque club in lets say Berlin. Then the crowd would have been free to celebrate with them. The crowd would never touch them, they would not even have to be told that on beforehand. It would be a culture in it self. The work of Amanda Apetrea and Halla Ólafsdóttir touches the edge of what that can be programmed in a venue for contemporary choreography. That generate questions of how much intimacy, and what kind of nudity fine arts can handle. And what the handling is about, the meta level of handling. The nude symbol or the nude as mere flesh, up close. I enjoy the tits rocking. I am pro the delicacy of all women. I want the woman figure. The celebration is peaking. The eyes of the crowd screams as wolfs, the mouths form smiles or are pressed together. Drooling is hidden. We are out of place. Perhaps that is why we had to be killed.



They pass through the space again reappearing up front. Here even the string thong is removed. Intensity is turned up, up over the peak. A storm is blowing through the shaking limbs, it is a prolonged maximum. An ongoing climax. Desire instigated by the human anatomy contrasting the mastering of every millimeter of bone and flesh. I scream in you. This scene carries a rhythmical energy. Emblematic (?) for the woman constitution. The force is directed. The origin is still abstract. Is this an event or the forming of a culture? I am thinking of the willingness to follow that gather some crowds, as the rock concert public. There you can scream as one. It has the force of a mob, unaware of any consequences. Still a rock concert public is not a revolution. It is a culture. There is something in this threesomeness we are in that I can not get hold of, it slips away. Now one of the women takes a bag and pours wine via the container of her mouth down the neck down her chest, passing the breasts, over the stomach and the elevated pelvis with her vulva pointing at us, into the mouth of her companion. It is wine and not chicken blood. But we see the blood. The excess. We shake with them, in joy. They leave us, the sound system plays on. Don’t leave us. The sound ends. It ends. Applause.


Liv Strand