Traumatic Encounter Forever! 2010
A Tragic Bambi
Blind Judge and Her Follow
“Over there in a grove surrounded by flowers slumbers the hermaphrodite, sound asleep upon the sward, drenched with his tears…..” Maldoror, the Comte de Lautreamont
"Traumatic Encounter Forever!" is created by generous participation and collaboration of many other artists and general audience. The bellow is the list of the castings.
Wounded Artist: Kikuko Tanaka
Angel: Chloë Bass
Chicken Cook: Raymond Fun
Tragic Photographer: Masaki Hori (SUNY Old Westbury) Eric Heist (Vox Populi & Center for Performance Research)
Creature: TJ Hospodar
Charitable Rabbit: 0h10 M1ke
Officer: Phillip Gulley
Photograpic Documentation: tasha dremus (Vox Populi,) Takako Oishi (Center for Performance Research)
Videograph: Sonia Ostrovsky Wainer, Hiroshi Shafer, Bai Pai (Center for Performance Research)
“Traumatic Encounter Forever!” is a durational performance that originated with two literal and theatrical works that I passionately identify with and, at the same time, mock. One is the Comte de Lautreamont’s farcical text concerning a lonely hermaphrodite, dreaming of her fulfillment of love in her sleep. The other, a Japanese traditional puppet play “Double Suicide,” in which two lovers, entangled through various social constrictions, seek union in death. Both the text and play examine how one associates fulfillment of love with annihilation of the conscious self. Georges Bataille observes that lovers’ ultimate desire is to transform their discontinuous beings into one continuous being, which is self-annihilation.
Setting these texts as a departure point, the performance is an invitation to contemplate inter-related issues of desire, death drive and political community through a plethora of symbols that appear ridiculous. The scene is set as a festival encircling the site of double suicide of Bambi and “Wounded Artist”. The dismembered body of Bambi and Wounded Artist lay under the structure resembling either a gate of a Japanese shrine or an execution instrument. Wounded Artist makes continuous slow repetitive movement upon a dismembered body of Bambi. Angel mourns over their death, and a puppet player photographs this quasi-pornographic spectacle. Around the site of the double suicide, “Creature” from Frankenstein pesters the audience, soliciting donations. A man with a chicken mask offers chicken BBQ and sake to the audience, while live chickens wander among the audience.
As a reader of my own work, I entertain myself with multiple threads of thoughts, through the process of making, performing and reflecting. The piece addresses the inter-related issues that revolve around the sense of fragmentation and injury that run throughout Western thought: Platonic concepts of desire as lack and love as the retrieval of lost wholeness, the concept of “rights” that emerges in our consciousness at the occasions of its injury and the model of the self traumatically injured at its individuation in Freudian psychoanalytic theory.
How is a community solidified through negative manifestations of injury, and what does it possibly do or fail to do? It is a tragicomic epic, in which time flows back and forth: traumatic histories polyphonically narrated with comic twists.
The piece is also an amalgamation of two kinds of performance that became canonized and popularized in the 2000’s: One is durational performance with repetitious movement that is canonized as a trademark of Marina Abramovich. Another is performance as food-distribution that was attributed to Rirkrit Tiravanija. Through they are different camps of performance, each exhibits an aspiration to transcendence (void of nothingness for Abramovich and convivial community for Tiravanija) through bodily immanence. Though this amalgamation, I attempt to understand what persists in contemporary society.