Nocturnal Queer Bodybuilding
- 21.5.2021, 7 p.m.Admission free, please register via ticket link
Simon(e) van Saarloos, Rahel Barra, Natal Igor Dobkin
Nocturnal Queer Bodybuilding plays with the impostor energy of drag performance and the supposed political isolation of sport practices. The performers enter, positioning themselves like bodybuilders, near-naked, boobs like bulged muscles, gazing at the audience – defying and proud. They ready themselves, pouring oil on each other, slapping the skin. The performers go through a choreography of exercises, cheering each other on, in competition but also co-dependent: using each other as weights. Heavy breathing becomes a rhythm, looping. The audience enters into the specific temporality of bodybuilding, of a gym, which is inherently looped, perfected and out of everyday time. As Kathy Acker questions: “What actually takes place when I bodybuild? The crossing of the threshold from the world defined by verbal language into the gym in which the outside world is not allowed.” Bodybuilding is a highly coded body practice that has undergone various levels of social recognition, from being considered ‘lower class’ to becoming the physical ideal portrayed in Hollywood films. Though it has been said that bodybuilding produces androgynous bodies that dissolve gender difference, the popular reception of bodybuilding produces rather normative images. By performing the traditional gestures of the bodybuilder from a queer experience, we aim to create glitches in an otherwise highly protocoled bodily language. Combining our experience with traumatic events directly related to being read “female“ and our experience with martial arts and contact sports, we wish to create a performance that embodies questions of violence, strength, drag play and perception. What is perceived as strength, which bodies can perform muscle and expansion? Who is allowed to rest, whose presentation of power is considered affective? In this Queer Bodybuilding performance, we explore embodiment as (gender-)queer people and the desire to feel and appear strong without perpetuating or mimicking normative masculinity. Whose queerness do we represent, and whose queerness do we exclude as white performers, appearing half-naked, with curvy but non-fat able bodies? How do we glitch the intricate connection between bodybuilding and ideologies of health and strength? Initially, the performers take up “classic” bodybuilding poses, then move towards changing them. This scene is all about showing muscle. We will develop poses to show off other tissue than muscle: binding tissue, fatty tissue, bony tissue, fantastic tissue, the tissue that we build between us. We use slow-motion and speed to play with exaggerated motions and sensationalism. After the performance, Rahel and Simon(e), while still covered in oil and half-naked, invite the audience for a short conversation on what we commonly experienced.
A packet of materials will be sent for participation, please provide a postal address for this when registering (no later than May 17.)
Subtitles in English