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echoes_Dominik Grünbühel & Luke Baio: OHNE NIX by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

We offer nix
Certain things in life can never be boring: like reading, playing super cool computer games, hanging out on Netflix, making love and watching performances about creating performances. Obviously, you can always learn from your books, relax during playing and watching series, investigate the layers of hidden energies in the bodies…
But what’s the big deal with performances that are about creating art works? – you may ask. And I totally understand that question since there’s nothing new or unusual in that. And still: conceptual thinking is one of the most exiting lines of questioning when it comes to talk about art. Actually, it’s a deep cut of art that whispers about the communication process between performer and performance, murmurs about presence and absence, and queries the borders of representation.

photo: Roland Szabo
Dominik Grünbühel’s and Luke Baio’s piece, Ohne Nix is a sudden, complex show that follows the way of conceptual thinking. It’s a metakinetic performance, which connects different timelines in the same space. But the meeting of past and present opens up the space and makes it possible to invert the rules and roles of certain theatrical elements.
There are two talking heads in the room: masks from gypsum that are lightened as faces with a projector. They are the copies of the performers who narrate the ‘events’ in the present. They talk about the tiny failures of the creating process, as they note: ‘We offer nix’.
And there are also two performers in the room: the ‘original’ versions of the virtual masks. They are bodily men who illustrate the narration of the heads, who belong to the time of the past.
Interesting situation, huh? Present belongs to absence (virtuality) and absence belongs the present (reality)… If you think about this subverted theatrical relation, you may realize the heads are not lying: truly, Ohne Nix offers nothing but nonsense.
On the other side of the fence, nonsense’s always been a good fertilizer of humor. And Grünbühel and Baio let us laugh, allow us to be entertained during the performance. That’s how the structure of Ohne Nix becomes a whole: it gives us the chance of horizontal identification; therefore it can involve us into the performance. Performers and spectators, we are the same, in a certain way. We both are the skin of the performance (nix -> niks -> skin), just sitting on the other sides of the virtual fourth wall.
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy – member of KÖM by L1 Association

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