SWANING (Schwanende), 2022
In "Swaning (Schwanende)" the symbolic grammar of Fokine’s classical ballet piece (Le Cygne) “Dying Swan” is appropriated with the aid of a prosthetic tool worn by the solo performers, representing a swan wrestling with death.
In a series of durational performances, stretching, arms are gliding oceanically in a repetitive passage through air, attached to buckled latex on a riveted harness and skake wheel metal rings.
Muted tides of tension and release destroy and renew the performer's supraspinatus muscles, as performed over several hours.
I developed this tool that equally restricts and enables movement after the injury of the supraspinatus muscle of my shoulder, which had been inflamed shortly after a plant medicine journey and became a chronic condition which I have gradually learned to live with. For the performer, it is a meditation on decay and renewal which is accompanied by an instruction letter to each performer.
Choreography by Lene Vollhardt, performed at degree show at Royal Academy of Arts London 2022
Performers: Chris Owen, Dabin Kim, Jem Bentham, NO, Lene Vollhardt
Sound design: Daria Blum
The Sphere 2033
After the datafication of flesh (❛‿❛✿)
In 2033, the art world has gone through a severe transformation. Now we could track everything. No emotional labor went unrecognized as it gets registered on the blockchain; and every relation, every idea, every gesture, can be archived and turned into an asset (often called a community).
We perfected the art of turning our work - and ourselves - into NFTs. We were banking on performances, just as other people were banking on words or attention.
Some people became really good at it; too good actually. They extended the curse of self-ownership like few libertarians would ever dream of. They became replicas in the metaverse: lost souls, or rather, lost bodies. Around them, the future felt useless, and so damn expensive. They were talking about having skin in the game, but they actually couldn’t feel the play anymore.
The precarity of our flesh became an urgent matter. The question became:
How do we get our bodies back?
Throughout these three days, we explored the Sphere’s relationscape. We went haptic. We made ourselves porous to our surroundings. We ignited hybrid zones of trust, being held, dragged and sometimes thrown onto handcrafted and nested Anarchive pillows.
We manipulated gravity in small groups, moved in and out of comfort, cruised our VR space IRL. We meditated ourselves through sediments of the earth and tapped into the air’s storage devices. There, we eventually found a portal to land and integrate the knowledge that was always already there. We found ourselves right amidst The Sphere, where the digital soul waited patiently for us to leave behind our good old patterns of individualistic artistic ambition. And we became seers of the unforeseen, fugitive dreamers of the afterlife of live art.
We accessed together, with our bodies and in shared balance, the space where live memory is archived and anarchived - where traces of events are preserved in their living potentiality. These traces in the Sphere are manifold. They register in the (blockchain-based) digital soul as data, validating the occurrence of an event of the past. But they are also plotted into something like the riddle of documented life. As we strive to account for what we have become, something exceeds. Our experiences escape from our own grasp. You can only get a hold on them as long as you pass them on.
We are now, back in 2022, at the end of what Legacy Russel calls “the singular body as a legible subject”. This was a wild and speculative ride, as we moved and got moved, adding a line of ledger into the knowledger here, marveling at the care irradiating between a performer and a character and an improvisation there; gently contracting fleeting visions into propositional fragments, and also, as if we were preparing time-capsules for (our) future AI-assisted selves, some preliminary instructions for running and curating them –
for the time being
Draw a Magic Circle and Grow at the Speed of Trust
Director Lene Vollhardt
Co-Dramaturg Erik Bordeleau
VR Design Timur Novikov
Scenography & Scent laura fernández antolín
Sound Scenography HASHIA
Performers Inga Galinytė, Violina Romeikaitė, Marija Baranauskaite, Eglė Ukanytė, Lilly Jankauskaite, Monika Poderytė, Džiugas Kunsmanas, Marius Jurgutis, laura fernández antolín, Jonas Tertelis, Markas Liberman, Arturas Sedys, Nida Žickytė, Ana-Maria Deliu, Anika Wiese, Ataberk Casur
A world of consequences deferred too long (2017)
“Abuse of power comes as no surprise“ – Jenny Holzer's claim issued in the year of 1980, recently disclosed a valid and ever-recurring, prevailing phenomenon; a mantra, triggered by a debate on the socially normalized, tacit sexism and violence of by men against women, non-binary people, and other men, precipitated by a dozen accusations against Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein. As this a transmission emerged the purpose of breaking the silence, we would like to observe and analyze: will a hashtag campaign like #metoo, iterations of Jenny Holzer´s claim and the current examination in media, finally manifest solidarity and change, by way of digital triggers?
Women in War, Exhibition and Short Symposium (initiated), European Days of Culture
Memoires Perdues, Prinz-Max-Palais, European Days of Culture Karlsruhe
A preface to Permeable Subjects:
Veronika Draexler: The dividing line. I think that is a good starting point for a debate about the body. The dividing line, or the contour lines of a body. Or; the external borders. Where do they subside? Is the deviding line definable? I perceive a body as a relatively static form, a temporary clustered energy field. Out of which I conclude that this energy field is slidable – unconsciously and consciously.
Lene Vollhardt: The biggest challenge to me, speaking about the dividing line, is to aggregate the dividing lines between material and immaterial bodies which are defining and enhancing corporeality. So to speak, to chose a perspective and scale. Inherent in the question of what defines me and us, there is already a myriad of scalings of just one perspective. This can create a confusion about how the self might be. Isn´t it more like a constellation?
VD: Yes, how to detect corporeality and the self? I don't want to predefine the body as such to a human being and thereby an ' I ', but in this debate, it seems useful. Inside there is a hidden organism, a complicated mesh of units, that mainly cannot be accessed.
LV: This exchange seems to coin the body as processing machine. Affiliated receptors, that define the body functions and also our organs. Our inherent receptors control molecular reactions of the outside world. They, for instance, open our genes to an influx of hormones, when they are necessary, and close them again.
VD: In regards to the structure of the body, like you, I would record an inside and an outside. Therewith, also the visible and invisible. Inside there is a concealed organism, a complicated mesh of units, that cannot be consciously accessed. On the outside, the body is skin, surface, and projection space - a sort of particle-exchange-cloud. At least according to my imagination.
LV: And this exchange is, for example, what happens when we register a need. The organism learns to function through triggers. For example, my organism learns, that love must be fought, via experiences, then I´ll start to get rashes as soon as I fall in love. The organism only knows the yes. It opens its receptors, and then I react with hormones and potentially with other valuable goods.
VD: Affects. And experiences are also the exchange of particles...
LV: That get inscribed into the DNA, and alter it permanently...
VD: The shared experiences of our ancestors that define us as human beings. The collectively shared dependency on oxygen molecules.
LV: Or, being-productionmachine, and the serial emancipation of carbon.
VD: As we continue scaling, and have a look at that chemical basis of materiality - the molecule – we can detect that it is never operating solely alone, but always serially.
LV: Yes, the statement that everything is one, is usually assigned to the spiritual beliefs. Once the scales are freed of the first dual categories, still a few philosophical belief models remain, that remind us that the ego is the evidence of existence. But maybe it is also totally different and being is actually about being-ego, which thinks and therefore acknowledges its being.
It is already empowering to know that we can transform our body on a molecular level through actions, not only through substances. Not knowing how we function and how we can change ourselves has caused a crisis, that has been intercepted by religions for a long time.
VD: The desperate wrangling, the attempts of making something elusive tangible, similar to the principle of transsubstutation, the change of nature from bread and wine into the body of Christ.
LV: Yes, the growing and changing body. This abstract processes of the body, these uncanny ones. Abstractions seem to trigger generally a lot of insecurity and conflicts. The other is uncanny if they don´t speak my language. The absence of sufficient explanations for the motives of the other beacons fingertips towards the whetted tips of swards. The law of the tribe: judges will be chosen according to their abilities to deliver arguments within our horizons.
VD: And yet the circle is broken-up.
LV: Only when the conflicts become too untenable. And if the offers, that unite sensuality and rationality, are not sufficiently available, societies start to rage. But at this point molecules already help us to take a little leap: they can empower humans. But still they remain abstract: they are not visible as such, but they define us, and the universe. We obey their laws without ever having been asked.
VD: Even though their laws do also become readable after time. And that is how molecules are being harnessed for human purposes. Looking at molecules we can see the same phenomenon: where bodies can be harnessed, they will be harnessed.
One example of the utilization of bodies would be the large corporations that are standing behind social media. They are already fragmenting the essential virtual parts of the user – by means of profiling and ablation. This process of profiling is happening consciously and unconsciously at the same time. On one hand, the user fills in their data in spreadsheets, on the other hand, their behavior online is being analyzed and interpreted. Users will be divided into target groups and then offered to companies, who want to place their adverts.
LV: The act of harnessing (Nutzbarmachung) can also be liberating. On the level of molecules, for instance, the liberation of genetic stresses and burdens. Since the discovery of how we can administer Serotonins, Progesterones, and Steroids, or even evoke Oxytocins and Endorphins, the human surely wants to work on their DNA. We can currently observe a sort of fetishization of the DNA.
VD: Which brings us to the point of the optimization of the self. It is a sort of balance act, between an adaptation to the laws of the Tribe, that is also prevalently dependent on the financial markets, as well as that which is really essentially right for the individual.
LV: ...causing moments of "Zwiespalt" and conditioning. That is why I think we need an order of classification of what connects “us” on one hand, and what causes us to be vulnerable on the other. That's the only way how we can collectively and individually utilize the potential of the invisible parts, before we are subdued to the market and its mechanisms, without having ever been asked.
Hong Kong Arthouse Film award
best experimental film 2017
TAFF special mention
The Grace Chapters is a schizoanalytic cruising through Grace Kelly's life on and off-screen, and in various media. Situated in a fictional scene of “A Country Girl” (1954) Grace Kelly grapples with the absurdity of waiting in the front hall of a cinema. It is unknown to the viewer if she knows, why she is waiting, and for what, but the viewer witnesses a hypnotic slow jam likening of a trial, albeit a date, every-day maintenance of a cinema, a musical casting. She engages with several homogenously-dressed men, one of whom appears to be her husband. Grace Chapters references and inspects gender politics of the grand era of cinema, in particular the rethorics of interpersonalgendered negotiation and performative gaslighting.
Be careful what you wish for (2015)
Installation (concrete, polyurethane, printed silk, copper, coated copper,q tips, nailpolish, glazed ceramics) Gallery view; ung 5, cologne