Dark Habits — onderzoek

KWP production


  • 08.04 > 20.04.2024
  • 25.06.2024

For Dark Habits Simon Van Shuylenbergh works fur­ther on his fas­ci­na­ti­on for Moral Ambiguity’ or the impos­si­bi­li­ty to be pure in a moral sense. 

Dark Habits will be built with artists from the net­werk in Brussels con­nec­ted through Ne mosqui­to pas. Instead of making solo’s they will make a series of group-acts, that they will show in dif­fe­rent com­bi­na­ti­ons on dif­fe­rent per­for­ma­ti­ve events in the coming year.

As a the­a­tri­cal ele­ment Simon wants to focus on the figu­re of the nun, and the ima­gi­na­ti­on around a monas­tery down­hill in the comi­cal movie Dark Habits (1983) by Pedro Almodovar. Not the nar­ra­ti­ve of the movie but the sort of nuns, and their dark habits speak to his ima­gi­na­ti­on. You have nuns who tame a tiger, have les­bi­an affairs, deal drugs, wri­te pulp or walk in glass. 

A second main refe­ren­ce in his research are the sis­ters of per­pe­tu­al indul­gen­ce’, a group of queer acti­vists who held mee­tings dres­sed up in self-made nun-cos­tu­mes. They held cere­mo­nies in which they decla­red gay men, infec­ted with AIDS whom no one dared touch, as saints. The faith of the­se nuns cen­te­red on the society’s noti­on of the dir­ty,” infec­ted body, as oppo­sed to the pure’ body, descri­bed within the Catholic faith. For them, a pro­cess of sanc­ti­fi­ca­ti­on was con­si­de­red an anti-nor­ma­ti­ve form of canonization

What inspi­res Simon is the way they build an ima­gi­ned” (fic­ti­o­nal) com­mu­ni­ty that simul­ta­neous­ly exists in rea­li­ty and direct­ly affects the rea­li­ty of its mem­bers. What is stri­king here is the way their own poli­ti­cal agen­da is trans­la­ted by pro­pa­ga­ting the oppo­si­te and by per­ver­ting a (con­ser­va­ti­ve) known form. Imagination, per­for­ming acti­ons, sce­nes and cere­mo­nies is the fuel for the acti­vists’ acti­vi­ties. Their acti­vism mani­fests itself in con­stant infor­mal and expe­ri­men­tal dis­cus­si­on, through the cre­a­ti­on of poe­tic acti­ons and happenings.

Through re-enac­ting church ritu­als, and cre­a­ting their own ver­si­on of the figu­re of the nun, the nuns per­vert the ritu­als. Perversion offers a grey zone within which, in my view, much is pos­si­ble. We could pos­si­bly fuse oppo­sing moral posi­ti­ons with each other, rethin­king our own moral values.

The artists will start from their own noti­on of artis­tic faith, and what they con­si­der from high impor­tan­ce’ to our prac­ti­ce and on the other hand signs of Evil. They want to dis­cuss uns­po­ken mora­li­ty, and fake open­ness within our own prac­ti­ces, the prac­ti­ces of our artis­tic saints and devils and within insti­tu­ti­o­nal practices. 

Can we still talk through ambi­guous belie­ve-sys­tems and per­ver­si­on, about what we actu­al­ly stand for and belie­ve in?

Mother supe­ri­or: Simon van Schuylenbergh, The Holy Spirit of Conceptual Justification: Lydia Mcglinchey Daughter she­zus: Désirée Cerocien Setdesign: Veronika Bezdenezhnykh Light Design: Max Adams Production & sup­port: Kunstenwerkplaats Support: Decoratelier, Volksroom, Buda Kortrijk, Gouvernement, CAMPO, Brakke Grond, Atelier 210, Elsemieke Scholte, Simon Baetens, VGC and Vlaamse Overheid

Collaborating saints 2024 – 2025: Chiara Monteverde, Lydia Mcglinchey, Désirée Cerocien, Simon van Schuylenbergh, Sophia Rodriguez, Luis Ramirez Munoz, Loucka Fiagan, Castélie Yalombo, Hanako Hayakawa, Rosie Sommers, Helena Araujo, Micha Goldberg, Charlotte Nagel and others.

(foto­cre­dit: Johan Pijpops)