PHOENix – Are we there yet?
artistic research on / with / in transition – Episode N°1 – Resilience
Camera: Kim Al Ouardi, 13 mins.
“Are we there yet?” – artistic research on / with / in transition – is a series of 9 videos, over 9 months, curated by Nora Wagner in the framework of Transition Days.
The video performance “PHOENix”, by John Herman, is about resistance and resilience, the will to survive and the desire for salvation. The video was screened from 07th September until 29th September 2020 at neimënster (Luxembourg) in a specially prepared installation inside Salle de greffe.
What if wars, crises, economic upheavals or other extreme events had different effects on the everyday realities of human life that could take on existential or traumatic dimensions depending on the socio-economic environment?
What if the neoliberal hunger for exponential growth reached its limits, if uncontrollable dynamics such as climate change or pandemics determined the course of history? If Nietzschean ideals like that of a resilient homo economicus became the order of the day? If self-optimisation, resistance to crisis and resilience presented themselves as the answer to the crises in the global system of limitless value creation? What if the ultimate individual adaptation became the comfort zone of dystopian capital, accompanied by the voluntary abandonment of civil liberties, propagated by populist political movements, and thus increasingly assumed the form of a threat to existing democratic systems? What then?
Would it be possible to stop such a gradual process? Could individual demands and the search for answers impact such all-encompassing processes?
John Herman probes these and other questions in his performative works, aware that our own vulnerability can open up space for a change in supposedly entrenched realities. Using forced irritation and reduced stimuli, the performance artist living in Cologne invites us to individually confront the situationist approach of subversive overtones.
With the PHOEnix performance, John Herman and multidisciplinary artist Nora Wagner come together, well aware of the strong impact of artistic intervention, to bring to life these overtones.