KNOW THYSELF ... but not too much
a long-durational interactive performance (10 hours)
concept, performance, choreography, costume and video
Valérie Reding and Ivan Monteiro
Georges Van Dakis
Mama Fortunella aka Nilo Stillhard
Bene Andrist and Juan Mauricio Schmid Bello
Nicolas Dubosson and Stefan Schmidlin
performed within the festival „zürich moves! 2016“ curated by Marc Streit at Tanzhaus Zürich from 17/3/2016 starting at 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next day
How much do you know yourself? Do you really
hold the future in your own hands? "KNOW THYSELF ... but not too much" is an invitation to the public to trust and get up close and personal with two deities from another space and time, two all-knowingly ignorant postmodern oracle sorceresses defying the laws of communication with the divine. Through masterfully executed rituals and blessings with sweat, laughter, tears and other holy liquids or devices, the two priestesses provided answers to anyone who dared to step in front of their gaze.
“KNOW THYSELF ... but not too much” is a modern interpretation of the activities and rituals that happened in the Temple of Delphi. The petitioners
would enter the temple and, in exchange for a personal offering or some sort of sacrifice, would get a private audience with the Pythia, the oracle sorceress. During the performance "KNOW THYSELF ... but not too much", Ivan and Valérie channeled their inner Pythia and, respectively impersonating Wala, the daughter of the sun, and Aega, the daughter of the moon, provided counseling service to all the visitors entering this postmodern temple in the depths of the Tanzhaus Zürich. During the entire
night, they answered the most secret, absurd, funny, serious, sad or ironic questions of the petitioners. However, in this performance, no monetary remuneration was needed to compensate the counseling service. Instead, in order to get an audience with the oracle sorceresses Aega and Wala, the petitioners had to answer three questions: „I am …? I have…? I want …?“
The two priestesses rarely gave answers by using words, but, much inspired by the riddles of the ancient oracle of Delphi, they rather answered by using their bodies as a medium. The interpretation of the answers was left to the petitioners’ discretion. These answers came in many forms, including but not limited to butoh inspired tribal dances, blood rituals, consulting smart phones, Facebook newsfeeds, tarot cards or animal guts, eye gazing, body and face painting rituals, lap dancing, karaoke singing, massages, cooking tea, slow dancing, drag performances and sharing tears.
If anyone was feeling exhausted or hungry by the mystical happenings of this magical night, he or she could simply lay down their heads and rest, drink, eat or socialize – sleeping accommodations, intimate tents, food and
drinks were provided. The temple was welcoming and giving shelter to anyone who entered the Tanzhaus. The temple visitors could stay as long as they wanted, simply listen and observe the happening, actively engage with the priestesses and ask a question and leave the space whenever they wished to do so.
Exploring the potential of rituals and vulnerability, this performance aimed to blur the lines between the (passive) audience and the (active) performer, creating a safe and trust inspiring space, where real encounters at eye level and meaningful interpersonal, intimate exchanges could be made.