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Premiere at Club 103, Falckensteinstr. 48, Berlin, Kreuzberg, September, 2, 2005
Performers: Gyuri Liebe, Delta RA’i, Boris Jarosch
Concept, Choreography, Set Design: Felix Ruckert
Tournee: Berlin, Dock 11, March, 2-4, 2006 / Helsinki, Kiasma Museum, April, 5-7, 2006 / Paris, Quartier d’Été, July, 30&31, 2006 / Berlin, Dock 11, August, 3-5, 2006 / Bologna, Festival Gender Bender, November, 1&2, 2008 / Berlin, schwelle7, September, 12, 2009, / Metz, FRAC, September, 20, 2009
PLACEBO TREATMENT is a performance with 3 performers acting at 3 worksites where volunteers are treated. The Audience can observe the ongoing treatments and in case of vacancy pick up the role of ‘patient’ and receive a treatment themselves. The Project was originally created for club103 in Berlin – Kreuzberg. As the performance adapts easily to any given environment we meanwhile perform the treatments in other settings as well.
PLACEBO TREATMENT is play, performance, ritual and sculpture. An individual session may last about 60 minutes. Primary and industrial materials such as glass, sand, metals, rubber, plastic, liquids etc is packed in plastic bags of different shapes and sizes and brought into contact with the body of the client. The plastic serves to disguise the specific nature of the material and to reduce its perceivable qualities to density and consistency. Not the function or the symbolics of the material is of interest, but its pyhsical qualities: hard-soft, light-heavy, rigid-flexible.
Such qualities become significant in reaction to movement of and contact with the material. The body of the ‘patient’ adapts or reacts to these qualities with specific behaviour. The three Performers act as pseudo-therapists applying the plastic bags on, under and around the bodies of the volunteers from the audience. Each Performer works with his own selection of materials and objects and adapts his or her score to the individual ‘patient’.
A PLACEBO TREATMENT is genuine play and perfectly irrational – it nevertheless provokes strong physical and emotional reactions on behalf of the audience. The project promotes the idea that art and therapy are incessantly intertwining. In openly displaying its nature as fake art, fake ritual, fake treatment and fake therapy, PLACEBO TREATMENT refuses any classification and draws the attention to what it simply is: a creative process happening between the performers, the material and the clients which produces images, sensations and emotions.
The PLACEBO TREATMENT project portrays contemporary art as a social ritual – a poor surrogate for the healing qualities, the social benefits and the mystic ecstasy formerly provided by religious belief.