ПROTOK ŽUDЊE / TRAФIC OF DESIRE

TRAFFIC OF DESIRE

– notes on audio-ambiental cruising performance –

!!! protok zudnje image beograd 01

Bojan Djordjev

 

Hunting for love can commence anywhere,

at swimming pools, near the railway stations or parking lots.

It is best to start at twilight, when visibility and possibility of orientation

are reduced to a bare minimum.

G. Ferčec, Arkadija

 

 

 Traffic of Desire is a performance serial designed as a collection of monologues of characters from contemporary literature who wonder around the city in search for satisfaction – sexual, intellectual, existential. These stories echo all around us: from apartments, hotels, railway- and gas stations, parks, streets, sex shops, present in the ether all the time, but only sometimes articulated. The discourse of desire precisely maps the city as well as the position of these subjects in contemporary socio-political context: their criticism, reflexivity and potential subversivity as the results of (self) marginalization. The city is observed, but at the same time the city also observes. The anonymity of the crowd and the mass, so necessary to the Baudelairean figure of the flâneur, the stroller, this time is provided by the sound files composing an audio guide.

 

Sound files edited to 5 to 20 minute modular units can be accessed randomly or in a designed order at designated locations that combine into a precise performative content. Each monologue leads to the next location that through its topography, frequency of passers-by, objects being observed or entered, becomes the staging for the text coming from the headphones. In this way, recorded sound in combination with ambiance “found” sound and space of the city become performers and stage.

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photo: Tanja Kanazir

Goran Ferčec’s texts Kruženje (Circling), Text with Changing Parts and Arkadija (Arcadia), chosen as a nucleus of the collection, manifestly address the connection of desire and text. Ferčec as a playwright is greatly dedicated to language that almost takes over the role of the protagonist. Two of three chosen texts are written in second-person singular, almost demand the sound coming out of the headphones, the one we “hear in our head”, as the ideal performative medium. The voice describes the scene we are looking at, or we should see, or perform. These texts are the descriptions of the image whose integral part we’re becoming, the image of the body in the city, that is being explored using detailed, thick description, observation. The dramaturgy of the body, “its borders as the only secure outline of the reality” (Arkadija), confronts the dramaturgy of the city that pulsates at the iconic points of desire and satisfaction – in this case, the park, train station, public transport, taxi, the streets… Taken as a whole, these texts dissect the city into a series of pornographic close-ups, locations yearning to be consumed.

 

The performance serial started in Belgrade in 2013 with only three stories and a circular trajectory that encompassed mythical locations of sexual encounters – the park at the Confluence (of Sava and Danube), popular gay cruising place and area around the railway station. The performance starts in a taxi with Text with Changing Parts, continues with Kruženje in the park and ends with a tram ride while listening to erotic observations from public transportation from Hervé Guiber’s diary. Zagreb map of desire was significantly enlarged and opened from a circle into a line that meanders from the centre to the periphery. Apart from the taxy from the railway station and the park, part of the performance takes place at the main square that is “amplified” with two short fragments from Foliranti (Con Artists) describing a pauper, Yugoslav answer to the flâneur figure, and a fragment from Arkadija taking place in a public restroom. Samo da se pozdravimo (Let’s just say Hello) a commission from Olga Dimitrijević, finds desire in domestic/public space of fire escape of a housing project – a particular building in Ljubljanica. Commission for the Rijeka Traffic of Desire superimposes the map of Sofia on Rijeka – it is triggered by a story and video documentation of Marino Krstačić-Furić recording inarticulate singing of a roma women – a guardian of the homeless from the Central Mineral Baths in Sofia and written by Goran Ferčec. The monologue Ja sam kraljica posljednje slobodne zemlje istočno od bulevara kneginje Marije Lujze (I am the Queen of the Last Free Land East of Maria Luiza Boulevard) is a spectacular “awakening” in Rijeka’s Theatre Park after a night of cruising.

Bojan Djordjev

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