Both, external / internal. Your mouth as threshold: as an instrument and as a cavity.
As a tool to create sound and to receive or occupy and eject or exhale.
Though the mouth is very prominent when one tries to differentiate body parts, it is not exclusive for the process of corporeal transformation. Because there is actually no end, when it comes to the body, and no beginning. Bodies are always in transit. The notion of trans-corporeality (Stacy Alaimo) allows us to think of humans as always entangled entities, not only with each other but with any living as well as the non-living matter.
When saliva flows from your lips to the ground, where does the body end, and how long do your fluids stay connected with you, or become their own corporeal thing?
Therefore, bodies are never just post-modern humans who participate, for example, in the exploitative production and consumption of capitalist goods. They exist as pores and holes, they absorb substances and create material flows.
You use your mouth in such a different way than those so-called everyday purposes. I have to ask: why are these purposes, actually, part of my usual actions and what or who gives them power? Swallowing, drooling, licking and sucking and all the sounds that interfere; you perform these operations into quite a new meaning.
At the same time, it becomes pretty clear what is not allowed in what I would call a "common practice": to keep your mouth open the whole time, to spit out saliva and cotton and color ON THE FLOOR so that we all have to gaze at it. I see three bodies that I read as female on the stage in front of me taking part in somehow uncomfortable activities. Immediately I know: never have I ever seen a woman SPIT OUT IN PUBLIC. But I have seen men doing it a lot, sniffing back one’s phlegm, then spitting it on the street and making loud noises doing so.
Watching you materialize rule-and-role-breaking informs me with two emotions at the same time: lust and disgust. But why disgust? In the end, saliva is a natural, universal and very human substance. I use it all the time. It is equally connected with my body as it is with social activities.
When you spit out ping-pong balls / color; when you transform rice-paper / cotton only by using your mouth; when you stuff your mouth with so much clay that you can only breathe through your nose and when the phallus-figure-like (or is it a beak?) end part of the clay sticks outside your mouth, waiting to be squeezed;
your mouth performs an alternative agency into the matter, or, the material agency of your MOUTH performs itself into existence and debunks the hegemonic and patriarchal influences underlying everyday perspectives.
Those assemblages [-saliva-rice-paper-ping-pong-balls-color-cotton-clay-]
left on the floor [yet always still in contact with the (gendered) bodies who arranged them]
are inhabited by a certain anti-toxic / anti-patriarchal / anti-hegemonic valence.
The definition of dance as a contemporary practice could be to create a movement pattern that questions its own meaning. Watching you lying on your back and gargling whatever substance there is in your mouth, the spectators have to ask themselves who has the right to argue that gargling is only allowed in the bathroom and connected to hygienic routine?
Lying on the floor and gargling equals dancing.
Marcus Fisch worked as a performer with Socìetas (R. Castellucci) on an international tour until 2016 and earned a Master of Arts in Gender Studies at University Vienna early 2019. Since then he investigates realms of desire in the field of queer new materialisms as an independent scholar and contemporary artist.
Your mouths are intimate places that I visited today. Wet and dry, unpredictable and controlled holes, inbetween spaces that connect outside and inside. Warm, spacious, vulnerable and loud rooms that can open and close, let things in and spit things out. Your mouths wide open, become eyes that are scanning the space with curiosity and care. Your mouths examine their environment as they would see it for the first time. As you observe the space around you, we can observe your space inside you. I want to allow my mouth to see the world too.
As your spit is dropping you are inscribing yourself into the space. When something coming from the inside touches something from the outside, when spit lands at the face of the conversation partner, words become material.
Our body is like a jar. Different liquids are leaving and entering. We are all carrying a lot of liquid within us. Sometimes liquid enters, sometimes it exits. We are comfortable with fluids, as long as they are inside us but as soon as they leave our body we feel disgusted or ashamed.
Your fingers are touching the little dark room that is filled with sharp and soft material. Whenever we are emotionally touched our jaw makes abrupt reactions. When we are happy, tired, cold, frightened, sad, aroused or relaxed it shakes, stretches, opens, tenses and moves in an uncontrolled way. Our jaw seems to be an honest refection of our sensations.
As you are holding a cast of a jaw in front of your face you seem to look at your own refection, sympathising with a part of your body. The cast can not smile back. It stays still as it is being moved by you.
Your tongue touches, tastes, smells like snakes do. Different kinds of material enter your mouth, you let it rest there, you chew it and when it exits the texture has changed.
Volume turns the inside to the outside, opens a private room to the public, makes the unspoken accessible and the quiet loud.
Thank you for your openness,
Dorothea Zeyringer is an artist based in Vienna. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and studied at the Inter-University Center for Dance Berlin. Since 2012 she has worked with Tiina Sööt as Sööt/Zeyringer and created various performances includingNever Name the Shelf and Running gag. Dorothea Zeyringer is currently developing a new project Private view.
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