Mouthless Part I, 2020
Full HD digital single channel video with sound, 16:9
Duration : 45:26
Edition 5 + 2AP
“The opening scene of Mouthless Part I is staged as our long-term performative project Young Girl Reading Group,” artists Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė explain. “Readers take turns and deliver quotes from a number of selected texts: theory, folk tales, science fiction and poetry intertwined. What is new here is the introduction of a multiplicity of languages and the disorientation this creates – both for the readers and the audience. The texts become chant and texture; remote and alien voices gradually possess the readers”.
Mouthless Part I started as part of Gawęda and Kulbokaitė’s solo exhibition in Switzerland at Fri Art Kunsthalle in Fribourg. The artists worked with the Fribourg City Archive, and specifically the project which involved digitalisation of the secular court logs of cases dealing with trials related to magic. They were interested in the history of witch hunts – and how the ideas which enabled these prosecutions were “created in the very beginnings of the capitalist system and transposed with the colonial system to other continents”. One of the central themes in Mouthless Part I is trying to understand the synthetic concept of Nature and how it came into existence. “We are interested in how artists historically participate in this development of separation with the continuous portrayal of nature as land to be studied, explored, colonised and owned. The beginnings of witch persecutions were paralleled with the intensified deforestation in Europe, the extreme exploitation and privatisation of land. Alongside, we are looking into the horror convention in literature and film thinking about the monstrification of landscapes, forest and deserts being presented as the source of horror”. In the film, the process of reading is merged with the footage of woods, agricultural symbols like haystacks placed in sterile environments, a plethora of voices and languages, and GAN algorithmic images depicting mutation which all together creates a fluid non-linear narrative.
“For us, the nonlinear system of narration first and foremost refers to stories with no specific author – stories typical of folklore undergoing constant retellings, therefore, mutating with time,” Gawęda and Kulbokaitė add. “We are interested in the collective creative process and the belief systems created by the communities. Such narration introduces diverse points of view, a polyphony in resistance to the hierarchies of the single (usually white male) author, offering alternative ways of understanding history and a possibility for re-rediscovering missing and forgotten stories”.
Mouthless Part I premiered at horizontal vertigo Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (2020) and has been further exhibited and screened at Haunted Haus, Swiss Institute, New York (2021); Istituto Svizzero, Milan (2021); Sonica Festival, Ljubljana (2021); there is not, there is not a soul solo exhibition at Swimming Pool, Sofia, Bulgaria (2021); Summoning solo exhibition curated by Quote Unquote, Bucharest (2021); Afterimage, Kaleidoscope Magazine, online (2021); Zentralwäscherei, Zürich (2021); Wired Magic, Haus der Elektronischen Künste, Basel (2021-22); TSCHÜÜSS FESTIVAL, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris (2022), From the Lids One Dream, curated by Cristina Ramos, Art Viewer, online (2022).
TEXTS QUOTED OR INDIRECTLY REFERRED TO (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. le Guin;The Word For World Is Still Forest, ed. by Anna Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin; The Willows by Algernon Blackwood; Six Theses On Plant Horror; Or Why Are Plants Horrifying by Dawn Keetley; Death by Landscape by Margaret Atwood; Queer Ecology by Timothy Morton; Queer Phenomenology by Sara Ahmed; Weird and Eerie by Mark Fisher; Dziady By Adam Mickiewicz; Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva; Genderless Time by Paul B. Preciado; Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici; Skin Shows by Judith/Jack Halberstam; Fribourg City Archival Material; The Mask: Remembering Slavery, Understanding Trauma by Grada Kilomba; Slime Dynamics by Ben Woodwards; Animacies by Mel Y. Chen; Beautiful Data by Orit Halpern; Wonders and the Order of Nature ed. by Lorraine Daston, Katharine Park; Eglė Žalčių Karalienė by Salomėja Nėris; Fledgling by Octavia Butler; Disability and Pride by Eli Clare; Living on a Damaged Planet ed. by Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, Nils Bubandt; Mariola Mirologi; The Woodcutter and the Trees by Aesop; The Death of Nature by Carolyn Merchant; Museum Murten, CH, research; I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé (with introduction by Angela Y. Davis); Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem by Elaine G. Breslaw; Moon, Sun, and Witches by Irene Silverblatt; Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, Or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.
MOUTHLESS PART I BY: Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė; CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Fritz Schiffers; PRODUCTION: Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Marie Gyger, Gruppe; EDITING: Robin Brass, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė; ANIMATION: Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Sybil Montet, Filip Setmanuk; MUSIC: Bill Kouligas; SOUND: Haraldur Thrastarson; GRAPHICS: Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė; COLOUR: Susi Dollnig; PROPS AND SCENOGRAPHY: Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė; KENOPHOBIA SCENE DIRECTED BY: Fritz Schiffers; KENOPHOBIA SCENE CAMERA ASSISTANT: Lukas Störer; GHOST 4 (TITUBA) / GHOST 1 (PUSZCZA): Leila Hassan; MOUTHLESS / GHOST 3 (CATHERINE QUICQUAT OF VEVEY): Niklas Draeger; READER 3 / GHOST 3 (CATHERINE QUICQUAT OF VEVEY) / GUŚLARZ/KOŹLARZ/HUSLAR: Julia Moritz; GHOST 5 (DOROTHY/ DORCAS GOOD): Juno Moritz; READER 2 / GHOST 2 (BARBLI BODMER OF WETTYNWILL) /GUŚLARZ/KOŹLARZ/HUSLAR: Azur Šabić; READER 1 / GHOST 1 (PUSZCZA) /GUŚLARZ/KOŹLARZ/HUSLAR: Amadeus Vogelsang; MAKE-UP AND HAIR: Leana Ardeleanu, Dushan Petrovich, Juliette Ruetz; STYLING: Tim Heyduck, Erik Raynal; STYLING ASSISTANT: Manfred Elias Knorr; CASTING: Elisabeth Brandauer, Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Gruppe; GHOSTS: Katharina Achterkamp, Remko Van Der Auwera, Azza Bashir, Iris Bauer, Kilian Butler, Damien Granier, Robert Hamacher, Malina Heinemann, Britta Heinze, Joseph Kadow, Philisha Kay, Devon Kaylor, Cajus Kesler, Manfred Knorr, Matthias Kraemer, Laurids Köhne, Tibor Köhne, Jana Sophie Lehmann, Drew Lint, Yuan Lu, Angelina Mass, Henry Mcmaster, Dorothy Mour, Josip Novosel, Anna Onorato, Ioannis Papadakis, Georgie Pope, Helena Eleonora Rönnmark, Dirk Schlienz, Rami Shalati, Nataliya Susyak, Eleonora Sutter, Odely Tebul, Camilla Volbert, Emily Volbert, @Izaio: Steve, @Nest: Julius Von Lauser, Bong Kim, Robert Laby, @Smc Models: Athena, Elisabeth Gronen, Zoe Lochmann; COSTUME: Cottweiler, Ninamounah, Mainline:Rus/Fr.Ca/De, Cc-Steding, Roni Ilan, Fila, Oculāris, Kara Bag, Adidas, Aileen Klein, American Vintage, Cos, Desigual, Diren Duman, G-Star, Lotte Schönfeld, Lou De Bètoly, Magliano, Manfred Elias Knorr, Mara Danz, Maison Magiela, Marie Louise Vogt, Mcm, Mm6 Via Zalando, Nicomede Perverze, Roeckl, Seraina Büchi, Soup Archive, Trippen, Truongii, United Standard, Uniqlo, Vivienne Westwood; SUPPORTED BY: Abteilung Kultur Basel-Stadt, CH; Pro Helvetia - The Swiss Arts Council, CH; Fachausschuss Film und Medienkunst BS/BL; Fri Art Kunsthalle Fribourg, Ch; Wallriss, Fribourg, CH.
Eglė Kulbokaitė & Dorota Gawęda: Mouthless Part I