Vivarium | 2017
for two performers, amplified pomegranates, and live projection


The first iteration of Vivarium was funded by SPOR Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, as part of the 2017 European Capital of Culture. Two performers dissect pomegranates with medical instruments, kitchen implements, and hands, exploring a dreamlike spectrum between insides and outsides, and tapping into the affect of abjection as described by Julia Kristeva in her 1980 text Powers of Horror: an Essay on Abjection. The pomegranate is considered a collaborator that exerts force back upon human flesh, evident in taut tendons and shaking hands as performers attempt to slice into its tough outer skin. Later, four hands swim through pulp as worms or aquatic invertebrates, freely dancing and coalescing into one entity, and posing a continuous challenge to positions of subject and object. This work is primarily negotiated through the sense of touch; within the compositional process as well as the collaboration required to realize it. The immediate and personal nature of touch means that discrete gestures within the overall arc are co-determined on a case-by-case basis by those performing it.