Iconography of the obscene – obscene iconographies

Afterwords: Michael Laub and Remote Control, Pigg in Hell

DerStandard.at / ImPulsTanz.com 2 Aug 2002English

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Contextual note
This text is part of the project Afterwords, curated by Jeroen Peeters for the festival ImPulsTanz Vienna in summer 2002. Every night, three critics in residence shared their impressions and thoughts on the performances immediately after having seen them, in an act of instantaneous writing. During the process of writing, these comments were projected in the theatre lobby and later that night made available on the websites http://www.impulstanz.com and http://derstandard.at.
A selection of the texts by Jeroen Peeters is available on Sarma, in a slightly edited version, sometimes with a postscript. Two essays elucidate the project Afterwords and reflect on its poetical and political implications. To retrieve the material, search under: ‘Afterwords’.

You might have seen the movie 'La pianiste' by Michael Haneke, and look at Vienna differently ever since, especially considering its facades and the possible excesses they could conceal.

Not a better place to see ‘Pigg in Hell’ than Vienna, a city that fosters a neo-baroque culture in the 21st century, revisiting along with baroque aesthetics and attitudes also mystic culture, whether late-medieval occidental or oriental.

A series of images, in a strict juxtaposition, giving equal value to all of them, emptying them, leaving them dedramatised. It concerns an iconography, flat images that don't convey drama, for they are drama themselves, they are engraved icons, inscribed on a body, tattooed in flesh. Flesh, resistant at its turn, never willing to be disciplined, to be flat, to be dressed as a facade. A facade, never able to hide this mixture of paradoxical figures of obscenity, hence revealing the obscene character of its own imprint, struggling with memory, with the excess of flesh, at once passionate, turbulent and violated. Back and forth between facade and flesh, never to be disentangled, a tragically breathing pas de deux, betraying sublimation in its very obscenity.