Performance: New Noveta

Could this viscerality, this hysteria, be political?

img_8132_1000.jpg

New Noveta, NO NAHADOU with DJ Aridtrax. Performance during the opening of Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s ‘No Right Way 2 Cum’, Transmission, Glasgow. Courtesy: New Noveta

New Noveta, NO NAHADOU with DJ Aridtrax. Performance during the opening of Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s ‘No Right Way 2 Cum’, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2016. Courtesy: New Noveta; photograph: Louis Backhouse

Sometimes I get fixated on a performance. Deep down I think it’s because I'm a fan of the live experience itself, and like any fan, I get riled by the object of my affection as much as I cherish it. I imagine this enthusiasm for ‘liveness’ derives from my teenage years spent going to gigs, being part of a shared social event, waiting to receive that adrenaline rush that occurs once the music starts.

A few weeks ago I got a similar rush from New Noveta’s feral performance NO NAHADOU with DJ Aridtrax during the opening of Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s show ‘No Right Way 2 Cum’ at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow. Rather than set in a designated space or on a stage, their durational performance unfurled in the round. New Noveta are London-based Keira Fox and Ellen Freed and NO NAHADOU was a non-specific physical struggle between the two. They ran amok grappling with one another, carving out their own space in and amongst the crowd in Hansen’s exhibition. Like many of the onlookers, I was frequently pushed aside and indirectly screamed at. This didn’t feel aggressive or confrontational though, we were just in the way. At one point, a plastic sheath looking like a colostomy bag, attached to the back of one of their flesh-coloured costumes, was scissored and a rancid fish stew spilled out onto the floor causing the nearest audience members to flee. Within this chaos, Fox and Freed attempted a futile act with an unmitigated urgency: trying to suspend lengths of bamboo to the gallery walls with string. All the while, a propulsive soundtrack played in the background. The stink of fish hung in the gallery afterwards and followed me around the next day.

To experience this exhilarating rush of excitement, laced with a palpable sense of fear, is something I’ve not felt at a live art event for a long time. In recent years much performance has shifted to the choreographic, favouring script and rehearsal over improvisation. New Noveta stands in stark contrast to this, and I’m keen to find out what lies behind this need for catharsis. Could this viscerality, this hysteria, be political? Is it a letting-go, a loss of self-control in opposition to the pressure of conformity – to capital? For now, I can’t wait until their next event.

Saim Demircan is a curator and writer based in Berlin, Germany. He is currently curator-in-residence at the Academy of Fine Art in Munich. 

Most Read

Ignoring its faux-dissident title, this year's edition at the New Museum displays a repertoire that is folky, angry,...
An insight into royal aesthetics's double nature: Charles I’s tastes and habits emerge as never before at London’s...
In other news: Artforum responds to #NotSurprised call for boycott of the magazine; Maria Balshaw apologizes for...
At transmediale in Berlin, contesting exclusionary language from the alt-right to offshore finance
From Shanghai to Dubai, a new history charts the frontiers where underground scenes battle big business for electronic...
Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton, UK
Zihan Karim, Various Way of Departure, 2017, video still. Courtesy: Samdani Art Foundation
Can an alternative arts network, unmediated by the West's commercial capitals and burgeoning arts economies of China...
‘That moment, that smile’: collaborators of the filmmaker pay tribute to a force in California's film and music scenes...
In further news: We Are Not Surprised collective calls for boycott of Artforum, accuses it of 'empty politics'; Frida...
We Are Not Surprised group calls for the magazine to remove Knight Landesman as co-owner and withdraw move to dismiss...
Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film is both gorgeous and troubling in equal measure
With Zona Maco opening in the city today, a guide to the best exhibitions across the Mexican capital
The question at the heart of Manchester Art Gallery’s artwork removal: what are the risks when cultural programming...
In further news: Sonia Boyce explains removal of Manchester Art Gallery’s nude nymphs; Creative Scotland responds to...
Ahead of the India Art Fair running this weekend in the capital, a guide to the best shows to see around town
The gallery argues that the funding body is no longer supportive of institutions that maintain a principled refusal of...
The Dutch museum’s decision to remove a bust of its namesake is part of a wider reconsideration of colonial histories,...
At New York’s Metrograph, a diverse film programme addresses a ‘central problem’ of feminist filmmaking
Ronald Jones pays tribute to a rare critic, art historian, teacher and friend who coined the term Post-Minimalism
In further news: curators rally behind Laura Raicovich; Glasgow's Transmission Gallery responds to loss of Creative...
Nottingham Contemporary, UK
‘An artist in a proud and profound sense, whether he liked it or not’ – a tribute by Michael Bracewell
Ahead of a show at Amsterdam’s EYE Filmmuseum, how the documentarian’s wandering gaze takes in China’s landscapes of...
In further news: Stedelijk explains why it cancelled Ettore Sottsass retrospective; US National Gallery of Art cancels...
With 11 of her works on show at the Musée d'Orsay, one of the most underrated artists in modern European history is...
Reopening after a two-year hiatus, London’s brutalist landmark is more than a match for the photographer’s blockbuster...
What the Google Arts & Culture app tells us about our selfie obsession
At a time of #metoo fearlessness, a collection of female critics interrogate their own fandom for music’s most...
A rare, in-depth interview with fashion designer Jil Sander

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

October 2017

frieze magazine

November - December 2017

frieze magazine

January - February 2018