• Against the Act

    Date posted: August 10, 2010 Author: jolanta
    I am interested in the ways that—especially gender-specific forms of—power and violence are structured and staged in representations of sexuality and (processes of) desire and queer-feminist (body) politics. In Dolores (2005), a staging of a lesbian-queer new adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, I constructed a walk-in set. I used wooden markings on the floor to create a floor plan with six rooms that would lead the audience through the narration. My main intervention in the story was to shift the first-person narrator’s perspective from Humbert to Dolores. Also to create a kind of Happy Ending where Humbert sees in an endless loop how Dolores, who is a grown woman, finds happiness and fulfilled love and sexuality….

    Katrina Daschner

    Katrina Daschner, Dolores, 2005. Installation view. Photo credit: Jan Kuděj. Courtesy of the artist, Upstream Gallery Amsterdam, and Thrust Projects NYC.

    I am interested in the ways that—especially gender-specific forms of—power and violence are structured and staged in representations of sexuality and (processes of) desire and queer-feminist (body) politics.

    In Dolores (2005), a staging of a lesbian-queer new adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, I constructed a walk-in set. I used wooden markings on the floor to create a floor plan with six rooms that would lead the audience through the narration. My main intervention in the story was to shift the first-person narrator’s perspective from Humbert to Dolores. Also to create a kind of Happy Ending where Humbert sees in an endless loop how Dolores, who is a grown woman, finds happiness and fulfilled love and sexuality with another woman. “If we are left out of world literature (world history), we must rewrite it ourselves,” art critic Nicole Scheyerer once wrote about my work.

    The performative installation or artistic staging, TäterIn (2007) is based on a script by Thomas Jonick that deals with sexualized violence in intimate social relationships like the family. The script merely functions as a point of reference in my rather minimalist-distanced staging of the piece. A significant intervention in the exhibition space is a white cube that almost fills the entire main room. Beside the cube, the visitor’s gaze first takes note of large-format, life-size photographs of mattresses.

    On one side of the cube there is a six-part series of monochrome black photographs. Dialogues from the piece are neatly embroidered in block letters into the lower part of the photographs. For example, one text reads: “WAS HEISST NEIN—NEIN oder NOCH EINMAL BITTE—NEIN” (WHAT DOES NO MEAN—NO or DO IT AGAIN PLEASE—NO). On the other side there are six white photographs with small embroidered objects: a telephone receiver, rolling pin, bottle etc. Through an observation slit in the cube the “dildo dress” can be seen. It is a beige, governess-style crocheted wool dress on a dressmaker’s dummy. The rather impressive size of the figure along with the 47 crocheted dildo-like growths coming out of it give it an air of power as well as a somewhat comical appearance.

    My latest work Before the Act (2010) shows two motorized stage elements, a turning platform and a revolving stage. It questions the relationship between performer and audience as well as the absence of a performer. Both stages together remind and also shift the directions of the circus act of a “knife thrower.” I think about stage and exhibition space as being sexualized. Within this context I talk about inherent power structures as well as constellations of lust and desire.

    The original text was translated from German to English by Erika Doucette.

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