This year, Block Universe, London’s leading performance art festival, takes place across three major cultural locations in Europe. As the festival continues to celebrate its fifth anniversary, it will expand internationally to continental Europe for the first time. Following the organisations largest London festival programme to date and an inaugural intervention at the Venice Biennale, both this Spring, Block Universe will present a sister programme of performances and interventions as part of the launch of a major new German institution: E-WERK Luckenwalde. The occasion cements Block Universe’s founding of a new international strand, establishing the organisation further as an international commissioning body.
E-WERK Luckenwalde is a new Brandenberg institution in a former brown coal power station, with a bi-annual art programme, artist studio programme and commissions. E-WERK Luckenwalde will also produce its own renewable energy that will be fed back into the National Grid. POWER NIGHT, curated by Block Universe, will take place in several locations across the large scale, 10,000m2, E-WERK site and will connect artistic concepts with the real production of energy. The programme will bring together EWERK’s architecture with cutting-edge performance at the cross-section of contemporary art, dance and music for one night. Performers will map the raw spaces of the listed buildings with their bodies, objects, soundscapes and installations, creating live environments across spaces such as a nearby abandoned Bauhaus designed swimming pool and E-WERK’s galleries, which include a 350m2 Turbine Hall and outdoor sites.
Fittingly, for a curated programme that spans both Europe and the UK in the current political context, the 2019 programme of Block Universe explores the concept of internal and external ‘world-making’ by looking at the diverse environments and realities we create for ourselves to exist within, whether those be mental, physical or virtual spaces. Taking place alongside Berlin Art Week, this first edition of POWER NIGHT will reflect on the vision of sustainable futures in the context of a historic power station, whose very fabric carries a wealth of history and collective memory. Taking E-WERK’s position as a new sustainable institution and power station, the performance programme asks us to consider our role in shaping the world that we live in.
Curated by Block Universe’s Founding Director and Curator, Louise O’Kelly and Curator and Director of International Programme, Katharina Worf, POWER NIGHT included new commissions and premieres by eight international artists and collaborators.
The programme took place during Berlin Art Week 2019 on Saturday 14 September, with performances running from 6pm to midnight. POWER NIGHT included Nina Beier (DK), Cecilia Bengolea (AR/FR), Charismatic Megafauna (UK), Marikiscrycrycry (US/UK), Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome (UK), Performance Electrics gGmbH (GER), Rowdy SS (UK) and Nora Turato (CR/NL).
Louise O’Kelly: Founding Director & Curator
Katharina Worf: Curator & Director of International Programme
Xica Aires: Head of Production
Tatjana Damm: Managing Director
Nicola Jeffs: Press Relations
Sara Muthi: Communications Assistant
EWERK’s Team: Helen Turner, Pablo Wendel, Adriana Tranca, Myrina Andrack, Maike Carstensen, Courtney Russel, Jen McHugh, Clair Boetschi and all EW volunteers.
POWER NIGHT is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and supported by Mondriaan Fonds
With Special Thanks to Edelmat Veranstaltungstechnik and The World Famous Wrestling Clubs: 1.Luckenwalder Sportclub e.V. & RSV Hansa 90 Frankfurt (oder) e.V., Campari, Nordholz, the city of Luckenwalde, Absolut, Feldschlossen
Turbine Hall, E-WERK, Germany
Screening of the Black-and-white video. Duration : 6:03 min
Filmed during floods in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Lightning Dance investigates the influence of the indeterminate electric weather on bodily imagination. The black-and-white video promotes dancehall choreographers culture; Craig Black Eagle, Oshane Overload, Nick Overload, Teroy Overload who, in the company of the artist, perform solo and group dance routines next to a roadside shack, while heavy rain falls and a billowing, turbulent thunderstorm roars, soaking their clothes. Their movements refer to popular Jamaican Dancehall, a highly sexualized dance style, which Bengolea sees as infused with magical healing powers.
CECILIA BENGOLEA (b. 1984, Buenos, Aires, AR), lives and works in Paris.
She studied Philosophy and Art History at Buenos Aires University and followed the choreographic master Ex.e.r.c.e. by Mathilde Monnier in Montpellier. Bengolea’s video installations and performances have been exhibited at the Gwangju Biennial, Biennale de Lyon, The Tanks and Tate Modern, Faena Arts Center, Buenos Aires; Fig-2 25/50 at ICA, London; Block Universe London; Dia Art Foundation; Tokyo Spiral Hall, Biennale de Sao Paulo; The Infinite Mix, Hayward Gallery London; Elevation 1049, Gstaad; Palais de Tokyo; ICA London; Fiorucci Art Trust, Stromboli and Dhaka Art Summit; TBA21 San Lorenzo Venice; Art Basel Miami Faena; E.A.T Engadin Art Talks; Centre Pompidou; ArteBA Buenos Aires; DesertX; Bienale de Venezia; Der Tank Art Basel; Jean Nouvel train station Geneve Champel. Bengolea has collaborated with french choreographer François Chaignaud since 2005. Their collaborative work Pâquerette (2005-2008) and Sylphides (2009) won the Award de la Critique de Paris in 2010 and the Young Artist Prize at the Gwangju Biennial in 2014. They have co-created dance pieces for their dance company as well as for the Ballet de Lyon (2013), the Ballet de Lorraine (2014) and Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal (2015). Bengolea collaborates with dancehall artists such as Craig Black Eagle, Bombom DHQ, Damion BG, and with artists Dominique Gonzalez Forster and Jeremy Deller.
EW Turbine Hall & Engine Room, E-Werk, Germany
Performance Electrics will launch POWER NIGHT with a performative intervention in E-WERK’s Turbine Hall and adjunct Engine room. Performance Electrics (Pablo Wendel) will reactivate the mechanical infrastructure of the 1913 power station in order to autonomously power the contemporary art programme. From 14th September 2019 onwards E-WERK will fulfil its long term mission to feed Kunststrom electricity into the national grid on an industrial scale in order to provide renewable electricity into the national grid for local and national distribution.
PERFORMANCE ELECTRICS gGmbH is a non-profit electricity provider, founded by German artist Pablo Wendel (b. 1980, Germany) in 2012. Performance Electrics gGmbH is based in Brandenburg and Stuttgart.
Performance Electrics produces and supplies Kunststrom electricity, a new form of renewable electricity generated through art works and available for public consumption through the national grid. Wendel studied sculpture at the Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Stuttgart under Christian Jankowski and at the Royal College of Art in 2009, under Richard Wentworth. Wendel has exhibited internationally, notably at the ICA, London (UK); KunstMuseum, Stuttgart (DE) and Rockbund Art Museum (CHN).
EW Courtyard, E-Werk, Germany
As part of her practice Croatian born, Amsterdam based artist Nora Turato, harnesses the versatility of language as an instrument in her absorbing spoken word displays that blur the line between contemporary music and performance art. In her linguistic performances she fuses fragments of advertising slogans, everyday conversations, literature, and social media posts, clichés that culminate in a powerful soundscape to question social norms and patriarchal structures.
Supported by Mondriaan Funds
Nora Turato (B. in 1991 in Zagreb/Croatia), lives and works in Amsterdam/The Netherlands.
Nora Turato, the good, the bad and the viscose, 2019, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Photo © Miro Kuzmanovic
EW Control Centre, E-Werk, Germany
“Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome together with artist India Harvey and sound designer Josh Anio Grigg invite the audience into an immersive environment combining movement, sculpture, text and sound. a body rites itself – phases of invokes liminal time and tactile materiality, bringing the audience on a sensorial journey. Developed with Producer: Nikki Tomlinson
Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s were the most important things come from, where you yourself came from and where you will go “
Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, a body rites itself, 2017, Siobhan Davies Dance, London
Turbine Hall, E-WERK, Germany
Commissioned in partnership with: Block Universe, Theatre in the Mill, The Yard Theatre, New Queers on the Block, Marlborough Pub and Theatre (UK)
marikiscrycrycry is the performance project of American born, London-based choreographer and artist Malik Nashad Sharpe. Their work operates with an expansive choreographic proposition that utilises dance and live action as a modality that excavates various ontologies around Blackness and Queerness. For POWER NIGHT, they will perform an excerpt from their new work He’s Dead, a work that will evolve over the course of the evening. Beginning with and impossible question ‘Was Tupac depressed?’ traversing a fantastical choreographic landscape that cements in many ways the humanisation of marginal experience. Performed alongside dancer Gareth Chambers, they will investigate defence strategies and the re-cultivation of power through actions and the performing body in E-WERK’s Turbine Hall.
marikiscrycrycry (b. 1992, New York, US), lives and works in London.
Malik Nashad Sharpe graduated with a B.A. in Experimental Dance and Live Art from Williams College, and they hold a diploma in Contemporary Dance from Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance. They have shown their work at Tate Britain, London; Block Universe; CCA Glasgow; The Place, London; Théâtre la Chappelle, Montreal; Hackney Showroom, London; Montreal arts interculturels; and Brooklyn Arts Centre, New York, among other festivals and institutions.
Image © Uemura Tadayuki
Turbine Hall, E-WERK, Germany
Nina Beier’s work test how value is constructed and undone, serving as a meditation on the multitude of power structures that make up our society. Disregarding usual martial arts categorisations of age, gender and weight classes, Beier’s new performance Class, 2019 at E-Werk Luckenwalde’s Turbine Hall, incorporates freestyle wrestlers from the world-renowned Luckenwalder Sportclub, wearing perfumes generally marketed to each their specific demographic. Relying on select rules of the game and the skill sets of the athletes, this charged work bricolages disparate tropes of both violence and identity. While the odours blend, the bodies on display produce a fluctuating image of authority and dominance. The staged nature of Class, 2019 continues Beier’s recurring interest in the possibility of cohabitation of the real and its own representation in the same object or action.
Freestyle wrestlers, carpet, perfumes: Opium, Lynx, Davidoff, Miss Dior, etc
Duration: max. 15 min
With Special Thanks to The World Famous Wrestling Clubs: 1.Luckenwalder Sportclub e.V. & RSV Hansa 90 Frankfurt (oder) e.V
About Luckenwalder Sportclub:
Originated in 1897, “Adler 1897”, The 1. Club for athletes was focused on heavy athletics. International success came to Luckenwalde with the first medal for the European Championship in 1963. Since then, wrestlers trained in Luckenwalde have participated in the World Championships, the European Championships and the Olympic Games.
Caption: Nina Beier, Age, 2015. Performance during Nina Beier: Anti-ageing (2015) seen in Swiss Institute Annual Architecture and Design Series: 2nd Edition, PAVILLON DE L’ESPRIT NOUVEAU: A 21st Century Show Home at the Swiss Institute, New York. Photo: Daniel Perez
Swimming Pool, Bauhaus Stadtbad, E-WERK, Germany
Rowdy will inhabit a derelict Bauhaus swimming pool to create a deep space for entanglement, unravelling, connections and disconnections. Somewhere between a happening, performance and installation, we are invited to engage with the space to explore ourselves, our physicalities, and our relationships with technology through a participatory live-soundscape performed by the artist for this unique setting.
*The artist formerly known as Rowdy Superstar.
ROWDY SS (UK), lives and works in London. Rowdy is a multi-disciplinary artist, working with sound, music, dance, installation and live performance. He was a member of Atari Teenage Riot, a Berlin based noise band and has released music on acclaimed indie labels Accidental, DHR and Beat Inc. Rowdy has worked closely with numerous artists and makers including legendary dub creator Lee Scratch Perry, Ron Arad, musicians Eska, Zero 7 and acid house pioneer Adamski and has run successful club nights ‘SOAP’ a no photos, subversive bass heavy alt trap/post-grime night and ‘SONIC’ a club night space for interactive sound/performance art and DJin in London. Recent commissions/works include: Balance – Kottinspektionen Dans, Sweden; 48hours: (w/Last Yearz Interesting Negro), NOW19 Festival, The Yard Theatre; In Movement (w/ Zinzi Minott + Evan Ifekoya) – Somerset House; Fury1 (w/LYIN) – Transmediale Festival, Berlin; Balance – Palais De Tokyo, Paris; Balance (w/ Rebecca Bellantoni) – Block Universe, London; Balance – The Southbank Centre; Balance video screening – CRXSS Platform Festival; WDREV (w/Lol K) – Nuit Blanche, Théâtre de la ville, Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris.
Image: Rowdy SS – Balance – La Manutention, Palais De Tokyo, Paris. 2018. Photo by Ayka Lux
Charismatic Megafauna performs a live set of drum-punk-powered missives from their album Semi-Regular as well as more recent compositions. Known for their original costumes, visual projections and anti-establishment energy, the band finds its most vibrant realisation playing live, in the interaction of band, space and audience. Offering a potent mix of girl-gang chants, syncopated drum offensives and mutant synth freakouts, Charismatic Megafauna refract their feminisms through an absurdist lens. This is party music for politically-minded people.
Charismatic Megafauna is Jenny Moore, Georgia Twigg and Susannah Worth, a dance-punk trio from London, UK.
Image: Charismatic Megafauna, by Photo Kate Bones, Styled by Kalina Pulit