Elsewhere (42)
Friday Ephemera

Meanwhile, in the Arts...

Simen Thoresen alerts us to the existence of Preparatio Mortis, a new work unveiled at the Vienna International Dance Festival and aimed at the discerning aesthete. Guided by Belgian artist and choreographer Jan Fabre, dancer Annabelle Chambon “tackles the still effective taboo ‘death’ and her body enter[s] into a transformation process,” while Bernard Foccroule elevates our minds with his “intensive” and “spherical” organ stylings. As will no doubt be obvious to everyone, Ms Chambon’s “assignment” is nothing less than “an attempt to reconcile life and death.”

The video above is of course a mere glimpse of the project’s artistic highlights. Happily, the full performance lasts for 50 minutes.

Update, with added nudity:

Also of interest to lovers of the physical arts:  Magdalena Chowaniec, Amanda Piña and Daniel Zimmermann perform Neuer Wiener Bioaktionismus. “Three young Viennese artists/dancers from Chile, Poland and Switzerland translate the actionist mystery into a vegetarian orgy in which dead carrots take the place of the massacred lamb. A portrait of our time.”

Update 2:

Okay, one more. I may have inadvertently saved the best ‘til last. Here’s Austrian artist and choreographer Doris Uhlich, whose “vigorous and critical” hour-long performance More Than Enough “takes ironic revenge on the standardisation of the body.” It’s a “bodily and textual discussion of flesh and opulence,” in which Uhlich “asks herself and her audience how the body can become a trademark and what this means.” This radical feat is achieved by reciting Baudelaire, throwing talcum powder around and making several phone calls: “I’m calling you because I’m fat...” Brace yourselves for the finale.

Avoid disappointment, people. Book those tickets now.



Het that's a really catchy tune.



And I was worried about the “intensive” and “spherical” organ stylings. Silly me.


That was ... kinda hot.

Ted S., Catskills, NY


If you can have tubular bells, why not spherical organ stylings?



nothing less than “an attempt to reconcile life and death.”

An attempt to reconcile boredom and cash.


“An attempt to reconcile boredom and cash.”

In fairness, the, er, piece does involve nudity and moths. Just as the second piece involves nudity and carrots.

Though, as you can see, that isn’t quite as gripping as it sounds.


What on earth is the still effective death taboo ?

In terms of art, it has never been taboo: River Styx anyone. Nor has that changed in recent decades.

Maybe they mean the lower presence of death in everyday life. I accept that death has changed somewhat. People live longer, child mortality is spectacularly lower. Coffins are no longer kept in the front parlour for several days before the funeral. Surely those changes don't signify a taboo.


In fairness, the, er, piece does involve nudity and moths. Just as the second piece involves nudity and carrots.

Worst. Nudity. Ever.



“In terms of art, it has never been taboo.”

It’s taboo in the same sense that the performances above are triumphant works of art. Which is to say, not at all.


“Worst. Nudity. Ever.”

No, it isn’t doing much for me either, but it’s part of the standard pseudo-artistic deal. Bums on show equals bums on seats, at least in theory. Yes, you’re being made to sit through an hour of insufferable narcissistic toss, but at least you get to see some jiggling ladybosoms smeared in what I assume is liquidised carrot.

Though I’m not sure that’s a trade-off worth making.


I'm - rather cruelly - enjoying the rapt expressions of the audience in the 2nd video. What on earth is going through their minds at that moment? Is it:

Oh yes, I seeee! Brilliant. I must talk to the performers afterwards
or is it:
I'm probably stupid, but I don't quite understand this...


What on earth is going through their minds at that moment?

"How soon can I leave without looking unccol?"


What's worse is that once you're familiar with the subject, the stuff they've ripped off from older, better artists becomes glaringly apparent.



Thus not only are they lame, they're some slight variation on an idea that wasn't theirs. This is an even lower order of failure.


Ah, but that’s the staggering genius of it. It defines whole new realms of failure.


If only. Slavish and botched variations date to antiquity. We just don't have as many examples around because they tend to get scrapped for parts or allowed to go to ruin.


Brace yourselves for the finale.

LOL. Bracing didn't help. But number 3 is definitely the winner. ;D

Now how much is a flight to Vienna...?


I was having a really dull Thursday afternoon until I saw this strange woman covered in talc tickling her bum cheeks.

Thanks, David.

Dr. Westerhaus

I think the primary mistake they're making, both performers and audiences, is in not taking LSD before they start, and leaving out oil-slides and the bathtub of raspberry jelly from the repertoire. Then it would all make perfect sense.

Of course, they'd have to call it a 'happening' then, and no-one takes those seriously...

Gerard Leun

Bring me my gun.

No. The bigger one.

Jason Bontrager

So would I label myself a hopeless philistine if I admit that my reaction to all three of these was a near-overwhelming impulse to laugh my fool head off?


I may never have another erection again thanks to that last one.

Lance de Boyle

No titties! What the hell? Waste of my time.


OK, I see I was a wee bit early. With the updates, my worst fears have been realized. David, please tell me no taxpayers were fleeced in the production of these, ummm, occurrences.

Ted S. in Catskills, NY, you owe me 8 minutes and 3 seconds...ok, 4 minutes...cut that bit in half and you probably have something.

BTW, Ace of Spades has an excellent piece on pretentious artistism...



please tell me no taxpayers were fleeced in the production of these, ummm, occurrences.

The European Commission is a 'partner and sponsor'.


John D

Brace yourselves for the finale.

Somewhere Vivaldi is spinning in his grave.


There’s also Ivo Dimchev, a “radical performer” who displays “a gripping sensitivity” and “slips from one identity into another” thanks to his daring use of a keyboard and a wig. It’s another colossal work, I think you’ll agree.

And yes, public money is involved. How could it not be? When third-rate narcissists want to be provocative and transgressive - and above all noticed - what are they to do? Smearing their titties with liquidised carrot and rolling on the floor in front of bored and pretentious students is hardly the stuff to topple empires or alarm the bourgeoisie. It’s just hackneyed, banal and comically impotent. If you want to be seen waving two fingers at the world, then you pretty much have to fuck about on someone else’s dime. That’s much more likely to piss people off.

Wm T Sherman

This recalls "The Royal Nonesuch" from Huckleberry Finn, a Duke and Daupin production.

Day 1: Talk up the production around the village. Convince gullible rubes to buy tickets as a path to sophistication.
Day 2: Opening night. A naked, painted man gallops around the stage for a few minutes and then disappears. The crowd eventually realizes they've been cheated and angrily departs.
Day 3: Second show. Amazingly, it is well-attended. The opening night crowd, humiliated at being duped, has convinced all their friends to attend in order to spread the shame around. The production proceeds as on opening night.
Day 4: Third show. Best box office yet. Sold out. The audiences from the first two nights attend with rotten vegetables, tar, and feathers in hand to take their revenge. But the con artists have anticipated this and are long gone.

Of course, that was all in the private sector. The townspeople had a choice about whether to fund the production or not.

Wm T Sherman


David Gillies

What a wonderful testament to modern, Western capitalist society that these tapeworms have the ability to exist and even prosper. Although, perhaps, tapeworm is an inexact analogy. Primo Levi pointed out that almost uniquely among living organisms, tapeworms consume a foodstuff so pure that they have no need of an anus. Contrariwise, these people seem to be capable of producing nothing other than a constant stream of shit.


Aw, somebody deleted my comment on Doris Uhlich's "More than enough" Youtube video: "Eraserhead - the Musical".


More Doris
and no, Dozza doesn't keep her kit on. Smoking, Telephones and Episodic Creativity all the way through.


"Does this pretension make my ass look fat?"

El Gordo

Watching this I felt the sudden urge to express myself.

Mark G

Being a man of a certain age, I can readily appreciate young women with little or no clothes on.... However, is this to be considered Art or mere exhibitionism - like running across a football field with no clothes on?


Worst. Nudity. Ever.

Please. Don't challenge them like that.


The first one has a nice arse.


The last one looked like Kramer.

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