Accelaration, optimization, existentialism and images of the female in smartphone culture are examined by the intense audiovisual performances of the MEDUSA cycle. Denise Blickhan acts as a solo performer with live vocals on spacious, multimedia-based stage installations as quasi-materialized social media platforms. The iridescent performances overload, overwhelm and accumulate through the extensive use of text, body, light, sound, music and video projections to an experience of infernal-dystopian ambivalence. The performance MEDUSA 10 illustrates questions of power between individual, collective and gender, concentrating on the gaze in social media culture.
Anachronistically, MEDUSA reintroduces the ancient Medusa theme: the relation of beauty/monster, victim/perpetrator and the gaze. MEDUSA 10, which is characterized by neurotic social media elements, condenses these subjects into a claustrophobic ego cosmos of gaze and power. The implicit solutions seem to constantly tilt into their opposite. Denise Blickhan generates a variety of female avatars by the extensive usage of multiple face projections onto the installative stage area, costumes, digital filters and the highly intensive live sung songs alongside spoken word modules. MEDUSA 10 throws with hypergender stereotypical voice modulations polemical slogans of destruction and affirmation onto the smartphone as the distorting mirror, measuring instrument and crystal ball of an optimization culture. The performer is always the narcissistic subordinate of the smartphones' selfie camera as sole reference point of her exclusive attention. Identies and relations oscillate in seemingly endless iterations.
The MEDUSA performance cycle was shown at the exhibition "Fluid Bodies" (17.9.-01.11.2020) at Galerie für Gegenwartskunst / E-WERK Freiburg, curated by Dr. Heidi Brunnschweiler. The cycle consists of the performance MEDUSA 10 embedded in expansive media installations with video and sound.
When Denise Blickhan was absent as a performer, the installations were shown in combination with a 4-channel sound installation, transmitting corporal elements of the performance.
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