Stunning suspended sculpture, combining rope bondage with spoken word to mesh ideas of strength, pleasure and sexuality. (****)
— Diana Scarborough, Broadway Baby
Challenging, tender, thought-provoking.
— Renate Kriegler Edwards
Diagnosis meets domination and shibari meets psychiatry in a new durational performance by Garth Knight and Harry Giles. Exploring the poetry and horror of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Giles performs oppressive, entangling and repetitive texts while caught in a web of Knight’s devising; words and ropes knot and reknot in a visceral investigation of political madness, social entrapment, weight and weightlessness.
In BDSMV, Giles performs found texts culled from the DSM-V, the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of diagnosis. The texts are absurd, frightening, mundane and poetic by turns. While performing, a suited Knight wraps Giles in more and more complex knots of ink, cloth and rope, eventually fully suspending him; always, the clipboard holding the found texts is held in front of Giles’ eyes, and always the speaking continues. Giles is both compelled to endlessly repeat obsessive diagnoses: he is psychiatrist and patient together, and it is never clear who is truly mad. As he is lowered and the ropework is undone, the text begins to fall apart into echolalic syllables, until it finally collapses into silence.
BDSMV is an occupation against overwhelming structures of psychiatric diagnosis and control, and an attempt to find agency and strength within them. It was inspired by Sam Kriss’s short essay Book of Lamentations.
BDSMV is a durational performance involving suspension, complex ropework and endurance; as such it is technically complicated and requires more in depth support than most of my work. It requires:
- A free-standing floor-weighted suspension rig
- A first-aid-trained assistant on stand-by throughout (although the work is very safe and incorporates quick release methods, precautions are still necessary)
- Technical operators for sound and music
- At least a full day’s preparation time in the venue
All of the above can be provided by the team with sufficient notice and budget.
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- Full performance video and tour pack available on request to firstname.lastname@example.org