Present Performance 6: Hysterics

Present Performance 6


Date: June 29 (Saturday) noon – 8 PM
Place: Park Brzeźnieński im. J.J HaffneraLinker Richtkreisstand Dorfbatterie (remnants of German fortifications)
Artists: Jakub Gliński, Justyna Górowska, Karolina Jarzębak, Piotr Urbaniec, Mikołaj Sobczak oraz Konstanty Spiralski, Karolina Kliszewska, Marta Drachal, Bartosz Zaskórski oraz Edyta Sasin, Tomek Zaskórski, Rafał 'mendowesz" Ziemiński
i Dorota Kuś (narratorka)
Curator: Ania Batko
Coordinator: Gabriela Warzycka-Tutak
Identification: Weird Gentleman

Hysterics was supposed to be a language of women, a bit of a fetish put on display and a bit of a self-generated performance at the same time. A somatic disease distinguished by the paradox of the discontinuous body, which lends itself to being formed akin to malleable plasticine by internal sap and existential guts as well as by researchers infatuated with that body and with hysterics. There are spasms, convulsions, epilepsy, delirium, ecstasy and lethargy. An entire system of complicated poses and gestures, sensual, terrifying, hilarious. More means more. The phase of mimetic infection transforms into wild clowning, while affected forms of pathos droop in apathy.

Hysterics is devoid of symptoms. Or, to put it differently, it has as many symptoms as it is able to remember. It plays all the roles it knows. It imitates and pretends. It endlessly simulates symptoms that are not its own. It is a theatralisation of repression, an effect-oriented performance translated into nervous gestures. A private theatre that abounds in exaggeration and baroque compositions. Something that looks nice in photographs, at least in old atlases, and something that was supposed to become the purest form of Surreal dream. A convulsive beauty copied in theatre and art, each of such copies being a new epidemic focus. Something that waits thirstily to offer itself to view at least one more time. To see itself in the mirror reflection. “You don’t want more? More!” – as X, a Victorian heroine, a protagonist of Charcot’s medical study, pleads.

The starting point of the next edition of the festival is one of Leszek Przyjemski’s conceptual-performative projects: Museum of Hysterics. It relies on the idea of a quasi-institution, whose founder and viewer is the artist himself, which does not collect but rather annexes random sites and situations, and which can be understood both as ambiguous contestation of social reality and as a paradoxical manifestation of freedom.

For eight hours, the space of a 19th century park becomes a simultaneous theatre, collective hysterics played out within the ruins of German bunkers and several spectacles, a study of a nosological entity and an extravaganza of bodies and equally hysterical objects, which combines politics with innocence, madness with revolution, slapstick with an unsolvable conflict. Because hysterics is a political category as well as a performance enacted on this and another scene, even if one is unaware of the existence of the other. It is a tool and a symptom, which not only bursts the patriarchal system, but also heals at the same time. Something we all suffer from. An eternal split and chronic uncertainty of neoliberal societies.

…do not accost anybody, the whole theatre is ours*

*quote from Przyjemski’s brochure from 1980, fragment of a monologue of the Cleaner Dressed as The Most Beautiful Princess

Franz Anton, Mesmer, credit: Wellcome Collection