About

Female_urination_-_on_white_-_1

 

 

 

 

The Fox Den refers to the experimentations  initiated by Lyudmila Trut and Dmitri Belyaev in 1959 in Sibiria who were interested in the topic of domestication and the process by which wolves  became tame domesticated dogs.

As Lyudmila Trut says in her 1999 American Scientist article: The least domesticated foxes, those that flee from experimenters or bite when stroked or handled, are assigned to Class III. Foxes in Class II let themselves be petted and handled but show no emotionally friendly response to experimenters. Foxes in Class I are friendly toward experimenters, wagging their tails and whining. In the sixth generation bred for tameness we had to add an even higher-scoring category. Members of Class IE, the “domesticated elite,” are eager to establish human contact, whimpering to attract attention and sniffing and licking experimenters like dogs. They start displaying this kind of behavior before they are one month old. By the tenth generation, 18 percent of fox pups were elite; by the 20th, the figure had reached 35 percent. Today elite foxes make up 70 to 80 percent of our experimentally selected population.[1]

Belyaev and Trut believe that selecting for tameness mimics the natural selection that must have occurred in the ancestral past of dogs, and more than any other quality, must have determined how well an animal would adapt to life among humans.

With farming and the domestication of animals came land ownership, territory that must be defended. Homelands and sovereignty developed. Violence became a part of everyday life: violence that the patriarch wields over his family, violence that men wield over women, adults over children, slave-owners over slaves, the rancher over animals, violence that the ruler wields over his subjects. All are examples of forceful power structures that were unknown in hunter and gatherer societies.

When violence is used, the perpetrator feels, and then represses, guilt, and the victim is traumatized and then dissociates from the trauma. With the emergence of private ownership of women (and consequently slaves, children and animals) the first traumatic repetition compulsion, induced by the systematic and constant use of violence, arose; yet public displays of mourning, including lamentation, were illicit. Solon, the lawmaker, made feminine expressions of grief a punishable offense – with two exceptions: funeral dirges and tragedy.

The 21st Century Fox Den investigates the possibilities of collective retrospection through improvisation-based story design, with focus on the form of public lamentation that came into being in the course of the Neolithic revolution, and has been enforced since: from funeral dirges and lamentations in attic tragedy to the hysterical passage à l’acte, strikes, and other forms of public lamentation in current time. The performative investigations in narrative space in planned works such as “Disrupting the Dinner Table,” “Union des républiques socialistes animales (URSA),” “Fail to Wail_Foxy News,” and “The Singer of Tales,” focus on the relationship between actor and object, and feature coincidental, accidental and unexpected connections. I intend to experiment with aleatoric processes, which will make it possible to revisit and speculate history, and to absorb the tradition of remembrance art into story design. Implicit memory may be retrieved and activated by mode of knowing in and through the body. By contesting the division between the realm of knowledge and the realm of speculation, I attempt to formalize the coincidental and emphasize the conscious process of oral composition that is behind works of collective bodily recollections. This manner of object-making consequently provides case studies to examine, analyze, and review function and process of oral data recording and deleting as means of exerting power. It may also demonstrate ways of production of knowledge through physical interaction between the subject and the environment.

The 21st Century Fox Den is a theater invention that in principle follows Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, Christoph Schlingensief’s “Chance 2000” and other works, and the Situationistic Communication Guerilla. I aim to develop a method to deconstruct social relations as theater that can consequently be altered by theatrical means: staging, casting, set design, acting etc. As research, it will be conducted through the study of emotion and affect [Sara Ahmed, Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick], and through research on oral composition [Albert B Lord, Milman Parry, John Miles Foley]. Semiospherical concepts [Yuri Lotman, Kurt Lewin, Bruno Latour], like affect theory-oriented concepts, relate in principle on subject-object relations. Gaston Bachelard, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Henri Leroi-Gourhan, Henri Lefebvre, Pierre Bourdieu and research around spatial semantics also apply, since I am interested in the literal notion of space and territory: cave and nomadic, settlement and agriculture, cyberspace and the physical body.

Given that the primary tools of patriarchal power, in particular law and money, are based on written language, overwriting writing through oral composition is an attempt to protest in and through the concept of bodily knowledge. Thus instead of writing, I will experiment with the body as recorder, and copy machine to preserve knowledge. Body knowledge can be generated reliably only as a collective undertaking. Therefore, I will explore and expand methods of creating and executing story-based remembrance and immersive place-making; collaboration techniques with actors, players, and audience members in immersive storytelling; and theatrical expertise in interactive game design.

The doctrine of positive thinking is one of the dominant narratives of consumer capitalism. Instead of calling out systemic exploitation, racism, sexism and so forth, it blames individuals themselves for lacking personal and corporal happiness. I contend that the obligation to be happy is the contemporary manifestation of the ancient ban of lamentation. Public lamentation has been undertaken through all history: labor movements, revolutions, and property crimes question current property rights; and the discourse around hysteria, eating disorders, LGBTQ activism question the concept of family. Thus reinstating and developing forms of lamentation may disavow invisible ideologies of consumer capitalism.

Intervention One

Disrupting the Dinner Table is a theatrical set-up around the dinner table as the centerpiece of a house. The house is the main manifestation of a sedentary culture, like Simone de Beauvoir describes it: “The ideal of happiness has always taken material form in the house … Within its walls the family is established as a discrete cell or a unit group and maintains its identity as generations come and go; the past, preserved in the form of furniture and ancestral portraits, gives promise of a secure future”.[2] At the dinner family life and marriage is executed. The table is what we could call a kinship object, which gives form to the family as a social gathering, as the tangible thing over which the family gathers.[3] The dinner table is a rich narrative topoi from which we take the following: the TV show Dallas, (theatrical remakes/alterations of Miss Ellie calling to sit down and have dinner), Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and Yuri Lotman’s insight into the domestic arrangements of the Russian aristocracy, as described in his book High Society Dinners. There are obviously endless references in regard to the dinner table, and in the course of deepening my research other references may also apply. Disruptions will vary and derive from banned lamentations around the topical space: table manners, eating disorders, food allergies, not getting enough, who cooks, who serves, as well as forms of union and forms of strike may prove to be yielding. Participants of the dinner may be performers, improv players, and audience members. Also field trips to family homes in different cultures and their dinner routines may serve as a starting for a performative investigation that disrupts the dinner table and looks at the consequences of that disruption.

Intervention Two

Union des républiques socialistes animales (URSA) This intervention intends to tap into the non-anthropocentric narrative attributes of cave art and centers around animals and patriarchy. We design narrative spaces around 4 animal narratives that may serve to investigate the possible end patriarchy: the bear, the dog, the horse, and the goat. Theatre, so far contains is tied to the human perspective, actors “imitates men in action” (mimesis prakseos, aristotle), new theatre may put humans in perspective instead. Just like world views shifted from geocentric to heliocentric, we would suggest a non-centric playroom, a theatrical space, that does not claim to represent the world it its entirety but much rather as being just another information cluster in the infinite. The stage then creates awareness of flux and elusiveness of ground – of sedentary values. It questions history, time, space, and hierarchy. Hence, the narrative space, its objects, and players in this invention will be drawn from reality-based as well as fictionalized animals as follows:

In Orwell’s Animal Farm, an old boar summons the animals on a farm together and teaches the animals a revolutionary song called Beast of England. In URSA the Latin word for bear resonates and acknowledges the primacy of the she-bear. The oldest discovered statue, fashioned some fifteen to twenty thousand years ago, is of a bear. From antiquity to the Middle Ages, the bear’s centrality in cults and mythologies left traces in European languages, literatures, and legends from the Slavic East to Celtic Britain.[4] In pre-neolithic time, the now extinct cave bear not only was the most powerful animal but also the most present in the proximity of the cave paintings. Bear bones are the dominant finding in cave excavations. Headless bear sculptures have been found in large numbers in and around the caves, suggesting a popular bear cult. Headless – as some scholars suggest- because the sculpture itself just served as a base for a bear rug – including its original head, producing in this way the illusion of full size live bear during the ceremony. Bear cults have a prominent presence in ancient mythology, most often related to a she-bear, to female/lesbian sexuality, and the power and magic of chthonic goddesses. The visual correspondence between the rather round, dark, and fury appearance of the bear and the female mature genital seems obvious. The mythology around Artemis, and the cult celebrated at the Artemis temples may serve as exemplary evidence. The early Church was threatened by pagan legends of the bear’s power, among them a widespread belief that bears were sexually attracted to women and would violate them, producing half-bear, half-human beings. Eventually the demonic bears became entertainers in the marketplace, trained to perform humiliating tricks or muzzled and devoured by packs of dogs for the amusement of (hu) mans, while the lion was crowned as the symbol of nobility – and as I may add: masculinity. In this invention we’d like to reinstate the she-bear, suspend the lion, and replace representations of lions in their capacity of patriarchal power by bears – in workshops, in story improvisations and other forms –like book corrections; new editions may be created, stories altered.

What are the parallels between the domestication of wolves – turning them into dogs– and the ‘domestication’ of women other than time? The dog, man’s best friend, a rich source of reference and social research, is the only animal that owes its existence to its submission to humans and by doing so, it changed its identity, name, nature, and race – from wolf to dog. The she-dog, the bitch, the son-of-a bitch – since became prominent and vibrant female-related pejoratives, while the wolf serves as a colloquial term for a womanizer. Considering the representation of ancient goddesses and mythological women as powerful, awe-inspiring, and in times cruel – they were just like wolves. The nature of those fears might be detected in what has been identified as justification myths. These myths typically feature a fearsome, cruel and vindictive earth goddess who murders her children (or abandons children, then raised by wolves) and in the end is killed or banished by her heroic son. Mythology conjures a frightening picture of the feminine, suggesting that the collective neurosis of men is the fear of the feminine. Anthropological research on ancient bones also suggests that in pre-neolithic times, female bodies were not smaller than male bodies, and the current gap between the body height of men and women may be the result of patriarchal breeding. Men prefer smaller women, tall women were lesser selected for reproduction. Hence, is it possible that not only the wolf transformed into a new species, but women also? Were women, before patriarchy turned them into bitches, actually a different species? And consequently, why have some wolves traded their freedom for dependency –maybe security– while others didn’t? Also, current efforts to resettle wolves in Europe, and the conflicts deriving from those efforts, can they be interpreted as an indication for taking-back patriarchy?

The horse is a gender-shared animal-topoi. It is one of most represented animals in cave paintings, and a symbol of freedom, power and means of individual transportation for men. The cowboy and his horse, the king on his steed, (not on the mule), the fascination of the beautiful und fastest horses is proven all through recorded history (today in parts replaced by cars). For women on the other hand, the most striking and idiosyncratic relationship with horses happens typically in early adolescence. The girl’s room is covered with horse posters, and horseback riding is a known obsession that girls often enjoy – especially in their early phase of coming to sexual maturity, most often in regard to ride the stallion. Barbie owns horses and riding outfits etc … The question here aims to explore how a narrative around horses may serve as a consolidating story, recurring to a shared desire for freedom, and in regard to the function of horses in nomadic cultures – to a shared desired to break out of the sedentary impertinences.

The word tragedy comes from tragos and oide, which means literally “he-goat” and “song”. The origin of tragedy remains a subject of debate. Some scholars suggest that the word refers to a goat having been sacrificed before the theatrical performance, others suspect a goat was given as an award for the best performance afterwards, yet others connect the origins of tragedy with Dionysus, the satyr-like transgressive God and his ritual symbol, a goat’s penis. These explanations are not mutually exclusive. Considering the presence of pity and awe (Greek: eleos and phobos) as formative elements of tragedy, it seems surmisable to connect tragedy with the whining of slaughtered animals, and through the element of pity, the trauma of the shepherd slaughtering the wailing creature. He silenced the lambs. Living a semi-nomadic lifestyle cattle breeding was their main source of income. The shepherd became integral topoi in patriarchal culture. The Hebrew deity YHWA derives from Amen-Ra, the Egyptian God of the herds.[5] Therefore, it is no accident that shepherds were present at Jesus’s birth – less as a reference to the underclass in early Christendom, but rather as the implicit founders of religion. The Lord is my shepherd. The myth of the shepherd appears over and over again in patriarchal iconography, including the cowboy as an anarchic adversary of the cattle baron (representing the archetypal patriarch in the Western film genre), that is modern tragedy.

Intervention Three

Fail to Wail_ Foxy News In this invention the speech act is the ban of the ban, a form of forced lamentation. Since knowledge isn’t absolute but relative to the subject (re) producing it, claiming knowledge may be worthwhile. A theory or thesis’ validity is generally based on its capacity to make correct predicaments about the future. The process must be documented thoroughly so that other scientists may repeat the experiment precisely. Only by getting the same positive results is the theory testing considered valid. It requires repeatable results. This theatrical staging will feature women that have failed to wail where they should have wailed – because they were afraid, silenced, cowards, ambitious, ignorant and so forth. The invention is a faked documentary of sorts – a publication, a conference or social media news release that claims the resurfacing, the discovery, or the (belated) release of a female lamentation /wailing – in regard to a patriarchal assault that had remained unreported.

[1] Trut, Lyudmila (1999). “Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment”. American Scientist 87 (2): 160.

[2] Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, Vintage, ([1949] 1997), 467.

[3] Sarah Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, (Duke University Press, 2006) 81.

[4] Michel Pastoureau, The Bear: History of a Fallen King, (Belknap Press, 2011).

[5] In the fifth year of his reign, around 1340 BC, Egyptian king Amenhotep IV took decisive steps to establish Amen-Ra or Aten as the exclusive, monotheistic god of Egypt: he disbanded the priesthoods of all the other gods, and diverted the income from these other cults. Yet the Egyptian people did not follow the new system and after a short time the old polytheistic system was re-established. One minority, however, named the Hebrews, kept the monotheistic system. After a failed rebellion 55 years later, they fled Egypt and settled 40 years later in Judaea. The former Egyptian god of the herds (sun and fertility) Amen-Ra –now spelled in Hebrew YHWA became the god of their new mosaic religion. In a similar way, Freud argues that Moses had been an Atenist priest forced to leave Egypt with his followers after Akhenaten’s death.

Sylke Rene Meyer

 

 

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The Fox’ Den. In den 1950er Jahren begannen die Wissenschaftler Lyudmila Trut und Dmitri Konstantinowitsch Belyaev in Sibirien ein Experiment, bei dem sie Silberfüchse im Hinblick auf ihre Zahmheit selektierten und züchteten. (“Zahmheit” wurde in Bezug auf die Art und Geschwindigkeit der Reaktion definiert, die bei den Tieren Entfernung, Aggression etc. auslöst) Belayev und Trut teilten die Tiere in drei Klassen ein. Zur Klasse III gehörten Füchse, die vor Wissenschaftlern flohen oder sie bissen, wenn man versuchte, sie zu streicheln. Füchse der Klasse II ließen sich streicheln, zeigten aber keine emotionale Reaktion und reagierten ohne sichtbare Freude auf die Präsenz der Wissenschaftler. Füchse in der Klasse I waren freundlich zu Wissenschaftlern, wedelten mit dem Schwanz und winselten. Wie sich herausstellte, zeigten sich im Laufe der selektiven Züchtung von Klasse I Füchse schnell alle Merkmale der domestizierter Tiere: Schlappohren, weißen Spitzen ihrer Schwänze und Pfoten. Ihre Körperproportionen veränderten sich. Sie fingen an, zu bellen. Bereits in der sechsten Generation der Fuchszucht war die “domestizierte Elite” bestrebt, menschlichen Kontakt herzustellen, wimmerte um Aufmerksamkeit zu erregen, schnüffelte und leckte die Wissenschaftler wie Hunde es tun.

Mit der Domestizierung entstand Viehzucht und Ackerbau und damit Landbesitz: Territorium, das verteidigt werden muss. Es entstehen Vater-länder und Herrschaft. Gewalt wird zur alltäglichen Erfahrung. Gewalt, die der Patriarch über seine Familie ausübt, Gewalt, die Männer über Frauen ausüben, Erwachsene über Kinder, Gewalt, die der Eigentümer über die Sklaven ausübt, Gewalt, die der Viehzüchter über die Tiere ausübt, Gewalt, die der Herrscher über seine Untertanen ausübt.

Gewaltausübung erzeugt Schuldgefühle und Verdrängungsmechanismen beim Täter und Traumatisierung und Dissoziationen beim Opfer. Es entsteht mithin eine neue Gesellschaftsordnung, die auf kollektiven Traumata basiert, und damit ein kollektives Klagen, das umgehend pönalisiert wird. Solon, der Gesetzgeber stellte das öffentliche Wehklagen unter Strafe – mit zwei Ausnahmen: der Totenklage und der Tragödie.

Cry Or Die – The 21st Century Fox Den ist ein Performanceprojekt, das sich mit den Klageverboten[1] und dem Übertreten der Klageverbote auseinandersetzt, in dem es mit Objekten und Artefakten narrative Räume entwickelt, in denen typischerweise Klageverbote durchgesetzt werden. Die Erzählung entsteht aus der Beziehung zwischen Subjekt und Objekt und zwischen den Subjekten im Raum. Es ist keine zeitbasierte lineare Erzählstruktur, sondern eine raumbasierte offene Erzählstruktur. Wir konzentrieren uns auf die Beziehung zwischen Schauspieler und Objekt, und schaffen zufällige und unerwartete Verbindungen. Wir arbeiten also mit aleatorischen Prozessen, die es ermöglichen, Geschichte zu überarbeiten und zu spekulieren. Das implizite Gedächtnis wird abgerufen und auf diese Weise kann Wissen in und durch den Körper aktiviert werden. Die raumorientierte Erzählstruktur dient dazu, den Zufall zu formalisieren.

Im öffentlichen Raum können seit der Kodifizierung des Klageverbots praktisch alle soziale Bewegungen als Verbotsüberschreitung beschrieben werden: Arbeiterbewegungen, Streik(rechte), Revolutionen, Diebstahl, Raub und Einbruch stellen Privateigentum in Frage und sind verboten. Das Klageverbot wirkt fort, seine Übertretung wird bestraft. Das Klageverbot im öffentlichen Raum zielt in der Regel auf das Privateigentum, das Klageverbot im privaten Raum dagegen in der Regel gegen die patriarchale Familie. Der Diskurs der Hysterie, Essstörungen, LGBTQ Aktivismus und so fort stellen die Ideologie der Familie in Frage und werden pathologisiert. Die Verbotsüberschreitungen im öffentlichen Raum spielten sich in der Regel auf der Straße ab, als dem nomadischen Rest und Transit der sesshaften Ordnungen, die Verbotsüberschreitungen im privaten Raum spielten im Haus, als der primären Manifestation der patriarchalen sesshaften Kulturen. Das Haus ist das zentrale Emblem der neolithischen Revolution, also des Übergangs von nomadischen zu sesshaften Gesellschaftsformen, die Viehzucht und Ackerbau treiben. Mit der Viehzucht kam die Erkenntnis der Vaterschaft und die patriarchale Familie löste die matrilineare Gemeinschaft ab. Frauen wählten nicht mehr ihre Partner, sondern wurden Gegenstand des exogamen Austauschs: der Ehe. Mit dem Ackerbau begann die Aneignung des Mehrprodukts –also der Beginn des Privateigentums an Produktionsmitteln, also Arbeitsgeräten, Land, Tieren und Menschen – d.i. Frauen, Sklaven, Kinder. Sesshafte Kulturen begründen die Diskurse Familie, Vaterland, Nation, Klasse. Es entstanden die Klageverbote. Als eine aktuelle Manifestation des (invertierten) Klageverbots erscheint heute die Doktrin vom positiven Denken als eines der dominierenden Narrative des Konsumkapitalismus und umfasst beides: öffentlichen und privaten Raum, die alte Trennung zwischen Privat und Öffentlich scheint sich zunehmend aufzulösen, das Verbot tritt als Gebot auf, der Zwang erscheint freiwillig.

The 21st Century Fox Den bespielt so zunächst das Haus und die Straße, bevor es es in die Hybridräume wandert. Die Vorstellung von Raum und Territorium ist zentrales Element der inszenatorischen Praxis: Höhle und Nomaden, Besiedlung und Landwirtschaft, Haus und Familie, Cyberspace und der physischen Körper. Da die wichtigsten Werkzeuge patriarchalischer Macht, insbesondere Recht und Geld, auf Schriftsprache basieren, scheint das Überschreiben dieser Machtstrukturen mit Mitteln mündlicher Komposition und Körperwissen sinnvoll. Anstatt zu schreiben experimientieren wir mit dem Körper als Wissensspeicher und Kopiergerät. Da Körperwissen nur als kollektive Unternehmung zuverlässig ist, müssen wir unsere performativ generierten Erinnerungen durch Kollaborations – und Lerntechniken auf eine möglichst große Zahl von menschlichen Datenträgern übertragen. Narrative Interventionen können in realen Einfamilienhäusern und Wohnungen, auf der Staße, in nomadischen Resträumen wie Bushaltestellen, in narrativen Räumen von Tieren oder in sozialen Medien stattfinden. Die Öffentlichkeit – wie in öffentlichen Klage – ist unser Subjekt, Objekt und Rezipient. Es ist ein interdisziplinäres Projekt, das objekt-orientierte Ontologie in Architektur, Urbanismus, Performance Art und Theater berührt. Unser Interesse gilt der Untersuchung von Möglichkeiten der Überwindung des Privateigentums, beginnend mit dem ersten Privateigentum, dem der Männer an Frauen.

Die narrativen Erzählräume entstehen in der Regel in workshops, gemeinsamer Theoriearbeit und Kollaboration. Die folgenden Beispiele sind also vorläufig und unvollständig.

Alle Erzählräume sollen die Sesshaftigkeit des territorialen Raum mit der Erweiterung in den virtuellen Raum durchbrechen. Alle Erzählung ist deshalb nicht an die deutsche Sprache gebunden.

Intervention One

Disrupting the Dinner Table is a theatrical set-up around the dinner table as the centerpiece of a house. The house is the main manifestation of a sedentary culture, like Simone de Beauvoir describes it: “The ideal of happiness has always taken material form in the house … Within its walls the family is established as a discrete cell or a unit group and maintains its identity as generations come and go; the past, preserved in the form of furniture and ancestral portraits, gives promise of a secure future”.[2] At the dinner family life and marriage is executed. The table is what we could call a kinship object, which gives form to the family as a social gathering, as the tangible thing over which the family gathers.[3] The dinner table is a rich narrative topoi from which we take the following: the TV show Dallas, (theatrical remakes/alterations of Miss Ellie calling to sit down and have dinner), Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and Yuri Lotman’s insight into the domestic arrangements of the Russian aristocracy, as described in his book High Society Dinners. There are obviously endless references in regard to the dinner table, and in the course of deepening my research other references may also apply. Disruptions will vary and derive from banned lamentations around the topical space: table manners, eating disorders, food allergies, not getting enough, who cooks, who serves, as well as forms of union and forms of strike may prove to be yielding. Participants of the dinner may be performers, improv players, and audience members. Also field trips to family homes in different cultures and their dinner routines may serve as a starting for a performative investigation that disrupts the dinner table and looks at the consequences of that disruption.

Intervention Two

Union des républiques socialistes animales (URSA) This intervention intends to tap into the non-anthropocentric narrative attributes of cave art and centers around animals and patriarchy. We design narrative spaces around 4 animal narratives that may serve to investigate the possible end patriarchy: the bear, the dog, the horse, and the goat. Theatre, so far contains is tied to the human perspective, actors “imitates men in action” (mimesis prakseos, aristotle), new theatre may put humans in perspective instead. Just like world views shifted from geocentric to heliocentric, we would suggest a non-centric playroom, a theatrical space, that does not claim to represent the world it its entirety but much rather as being just another information cluster in the infinite. The stage then creates awareness of flux and elusiveness of ground – of sedentary values. It questions history, time, space, and hierarchy. Hence, the narrative space, its objects, and players in this invention will be drawn from reality-based as well as fictionalized animals as follows:

In Orwell’s Animal Farm, an old boar summons the animals on a farm together and teaches the animals a revolutionary song called Beast of England. In URSA the Latin word for bear resonates and acknowledges the primacy of the she-bear. The oldest discovered statue, fashioned some fifteen to twenty thousand years ago, is of a bear. From antiquity to the Middle Ages, the bear’s centrality in cults and mythologies left traces in European languages, literatures, and legends from the Slavic East to Celtic Britain.[4] In pre-neolithic time, the now extinct cave bear not only was the most powerful animal but also the most present in the proximity of the cave paintings. Bear bones are the dominant finding in cave excavations. Headless bear sculptures have been found in large numbers in and around the caves, suggesting a popular bear cult. Headless – as some scholars suggest- because the sculpture itself just served as a base for a bear rug – including its original head, producing in this way the illusion of full size live bear during the ceremony. Bear cults have a prominent presence in ancient mythology, most often related to a she-bear, to female/lesbian sexuality, and the power and magic of chthonic goddesses. The visual correspondence between the rather round, dark, and fury appearance of the bear and the female mature genital seems obvious. The mythology around Artemis, and the cult celebrated at the Artemis temples may serve as exemplary evidence. The early Church was threatened by pagan legends of the bear’s power, among them a widespread belief that bears were sexually attracted to women and would violate them, producing half-bear, half-human beings. Eventually the demonic bears became entertainers in the marketplace, trained to perform humiliating tricks or muzzled and devoured by packs of dogs for the amusement of (hu) mans, while the lion was crowned as the symbol of nobility – and as I may add: masculinity. In this invention we’d like to reinstate the she-bear, suspend the lion, and replace representations of lions in their capacity of patriarchal power by bears – in workshops, in story improvisations and other forms –like book corrections; new editions may be created, stories altered.

What are the parallels between the domestication of wolves – turning them into dogs– and the ‘domestication’ of women other than time? The dog, man’s best friend, a rich source of reference and social research, is the only animal that owes its existence to its submission to humans and by doing so, it changed its identity, name, nature, and race – from wolf to dog. The she-dog, the bitch, the son-of-a bitch – since became prominent and vibrant female-related pejoratives, while the wolf serves as a colloquial term for a womanizer. Considering the representation of ancient goddesses and mythological women as powerful, awe-inspiring, and in times cruel – they were just like wolves. The nature of those fears might be detected in what has been identified as justification myths. These myths typically feature a fearsome, cruel and vindictive earth goddess who murders her children (or abandons children, then raised by wolves) and in the end is killed or banished by her heroic son. Mythology conjures a frightening picture of the feminine, suggesting that the collective neurosis of men is the fear of the feminine. Anthropological research on ancient bones also suggests that in pre-neolithic times, female bodies were not smaller than male bodies, and the current gap between the body height of men and women may be the result of patriarchal breeding. Men prefer smaller women, tall women were lesser selected for reproduction. Hence, is it possible that not only the wolf transformed into a new species, but women also? Were women, before patriarchy turned them into bitches, actually a different species? And consequently, why have some wolves traded their freedom for dependency –maybe security– while others didn’t? Also, current efforts to resettle wolves in Europe, and the conflicts deriving from those efforts, can they be interpreted as an indication for taking-back patriarchy?

The horse is a gender-shared animal-topoi. It is one of most represented animals in cave paintings, and a symbol of freedom, power and means of individual transportation for men. The cowboy and his horse, the king on his steed, (not on the mule), the fascination of the beautiful und fastest horses is proven all through recorded history (today in parts replaced by cars). For women on the other hand, the most striking and idiosyncratic relationship with horses happens typically in early adolescence. The girl’s room is covered with horse posters, and horseback riding is a known obsession that girls often enjoy – especially in their early phase of coming to sexual maturity, most often in regard to ride the stallion. Barbie owns horses and riding outfits etc … The question here aims to explore how a narrative around horses may serve as a consolidating story, recurring to a shared desire for freedom, and in regard to the function of horses in nomadic cultures – to a shared desired to break out of the sedentary impertinences.

The word tragedy comes from tragos and oide, which means literally “he-goat” and “song”. The origin of tragedy remains a subject of debate. Some scholars suggest that the word refers to a goat having been sacrificed before the theatrical performance, others suspect a goat was given as an award for the best performance afterwards, yet others connect the origins of tragedy with Dionysus, the satyr-like transgressive God and his ritual symbol, a goat’s penis. These explanations are not mutually exclusive. Considering the presence of pity and awe (Greek: eleos and phobos) as formative elements of tragedy, it seems surmisable to connect tragedy with the whining of slaughtered animals, and through the element of pity, the trauma of the shepherd slaughtering the wailing creature. He silenced the lambs. Living a semi-nomadic lifestyle cattle breeding was their main source of income. The shepherd became integral topoi in patriarchal culture. The Hebrew deity YHWA derives from Amen-Ra, the Egyptian God of the herds.[5] Therefore, it is no accident that shepherds were present at Jesus’s birth – less as a reference to the underclass in early Christendom, but rather as the implicit founders of religion. The Lord is my shepherd. The myth of the shepherd appears over and over again in patriarchal iconography, including the cowboy as an anarchic adversary of the cattle baron (representing the archetypal patriarch in the Western film genre), that is modern tragedy.

Intervention Three

Fail to Wail_ Foxy News In this invention the speech act is the ban of the ban, a form of forced lamentation. Since knowledge isn’t absolute but relative to the subject (re) producing it, claiming knowledge may be worthwhile. A theory or thesis’ validity is generally based on its capacity to make correct predicaments about the future. The process must be documented thoroughly so that other scientists may repeat the experiment precisely. Only by getting the same positive results is the theory testing considered valid. It requires repeatable results. This theatrical staging will feature women that have failed to wail where they should have wailed – because they were afraid, silenced, cowards, ambitious, ignorant and so forth. The invention is a faked documentary of sorts – a publication, a conference or social media news release that claims the resurfacing, the discovery, or the (belated) release of a female lamentation /wailing – in regard to a patriarchal assault that had remained unreported.

 Sylke Rene Meyer_Artistic Research_Cry Or Die

[1] In der griechischen Gesellschaft war es gesetzlich verboten, in der Öffentlichkeit zu klagen. (Solon 21.4) Solon, der Gesetzgeber stellte das öffentliche Wehklagen unter Strafe – mit zwei Ausnahmen: der Totenklage und der Tragödie. In der Totenklage durften professionelle Klageweiber in vorgegebenen Versen und Gesängen lamentieren. Wenn man sich die körperliche Gestik der Klageweiber in Erinnerung ruft, möchte man fast sagen, auch in Form einer Art Tanzes. Die Klageprozession ist also theatralisch, wie die Tragödie, allerdings mit ausschließlich weiblicher Beteiligung. In Theater dagegen waren Frauen nicht zugelassen – weder als Schauspielerinnen noch als Zuschauerinnen. Die Tatsache, dass ein realer Verlust zu beklagen ist, unterscheidet die Klageprozession nicht von der Tragödie – beide Formen sind reality-based narratives.[1] In der Klageprozession klagen die Klageweiber an Stelle der Opfer, in einer Art passage à l’acte. Ohne die Ermächtigung der kathartischen Erfahrung werden die Frauen auf die (Re)präsenation des unmittelbaren Schmerzes beschränkt. In der Tragödie ist das Trauern und Klagen der Frauen verschoben in ein fast bizarres Theaterzeichen. Wenn Medea ihre Kinder tötet, wird sie von einem Mann gespielt. Auf der Bühne agieren Phaedra, Antigone, Penthesilea – gespielt von Männern in Masken. Im Publikum sitzt eine Männergesellschaft, die intellektuell und erotisch dem eigenen Geschlecht den Vorzug gibt. Homophil, aber nicht gay.

[2] Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, Vintage, ([1949] 1997), 467.

[3] Sarah Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, (Duke University Press, 2006) 81.

[4] Michel Pastoureau, The Bear: History of a Fallen King, (Belknap Press, 2011).

[5] In the fifth year of his reign, around 1340 BC, Egyptian king Amenhotep IV took decisive steps to establish Amen-Ra or Aten as the exclusive, monotheistic god of Egypt: he disbanded the priesthoods of all the other gods, and diverted the income from these other cults. Yet the Egyptian people did not follow the new system and after a short time the old polytheistic system was re-established. One minority, however, named the Hebrews, kept the monotheistic system. After a failed rebellion 55 years later, they fled Egypt and settled 40 years later in Judaea. The former Egyptian god of the herds (sun and fertility) Amen-Ra –now spelled in Hebrew YHWA became the god of their new mosaic religion. In a similar way, Freud argues that Moses had been an Atenist priest forced to leave Egypt with his followers after Akhenaten’s death.