July 2021

Dorota Gawęda & Eglė Kulbokaitė and Isabel Lewis: Vaporized, dispersed, made particulate and Erotic Sociability (for Webcam)

Blend&Bleed: On Transreality and Pervasive Play

Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė delivered the performative lecture “Vaporized, dispersed, made particulate,” which renders landscape as a primary site of speculation in both the natural and the constructed worlds and tries to reintroduce folkloric narratives into our technological present. The performance presented the artists’ past and current research interspersed with text, images, and video material from their recent body of work Mouthless (2020–ongoing) and engaged with their ongoing work on fragrance and the underlying molecular entanglements between subjects and their surroundings.

Isabel Lewis shared ideas around sociality and embodiment. “Erotic Sociability (for Webcam)” introduces feminist sociologist Roslyn H. Bologh’s notion of “erotic sociability” as a form of interhuman sociality and an alternative to the dominant twentieth-century relational modes of competition, conflict, and coercion. The figure of the “unambitious stripper” served as a metaphor guiding participants to connect with their inner worlds in order to become more radically receptive to their outer worlds. In this movement workshop, rather than strip clothes off, participants imagined peeling away layers of social constructs and identity.

Isabel Lewis, unambitious stripper, 2014. Photomontage.

Dorota Gawęda, born 1986 in Lublin, Poland, and Eglė Kulbokaitė, born 1987 in Kaunas, Lithuania, are an artist duo established in 2013 and based in Basel. Both are 2012 graduates of the Royal College of Art, London. Their work spans video, performance, installation, fragrance, and sculpture.

They have exhibited internationally including: Swiss Institute, New York (2020); Den Frie, Copenhagen (2020); MWW, Wroclaw (2020); Kunstverein Düsseldorf (2020 and 2016); Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2019); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018); 6th Athens Biennale (2018); Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2018); Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2017); Kunsthalle Basel (2017); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2017); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2016); Berlin Biennale 9 (2016); and Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (2015), among others. Their recent solo shows include presentations at Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (2020); Trafo Gallery, Budapest (2020); Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London (2020 and 2018); Fri Art – Kunsthalle Fribourg (2020); Futura, Prague (2019); Lucas Hirsch Gallery, Düsseldorf (2018); Cell Project Space, London (2018). Upcoming exhibitions include presentations at: Kunstverein Leipzig (group); Lucas Hirsch Gallery, Düsseldorf (solo); Istituto Svizzero, Milan (performance); Swimming Pool, Sofia (solo), Istituto Svizzero, Palermo (solo). The duo are also the founders of YOUNG GIRL READING GROUP (2013–ongoing).

Isabel Lewis was born 1981 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, raised on a man-made island in southwest Florida, and is based in Berlin.

Trained in literary criticism, dance, and philosophy, Lewis’s work takes on many different formats: from lecture-performances and workshops to music sessions, parties, installations, and what she calls “hosted occasions.” Her inherently collaborative work creates alternative modes of sociality between human and more-than-human agents, generating affective experiences that address all of the senses. Lewis has created works around topics such as open-source technology and dance improvisation, social dances as cultural storage systems, rapping as embodied speech acts, collaborative creative formats, future bodily techniques, the body as multi-organismic assemblages, and the sociological concept of erotic sociability.

Lewis’s work has been presented by Dia Art Foundation, New York; Kunsthalle Zürich; Sharjah Biennial; Roskilde Festival; Berliner Festspiele-Gropius Bau; Tate Modern, London; Steirischer Herbst; Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève; Kunsthalle Basel; Liverpool Biennial; Serpentine Galleries, London; Tanz Im August, Berlin; Kampnagel, Hamburg; Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Creative Time with Art Basel; Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai; and Karachi Biennial Trust, among others.


00:04:14: “Vaporized, dispersed, made particulate” by Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė
00:54:30: “Erotic Sociability (for Webcam)” by Isabel Lewis
01:52:48: Debrief and conversation

Preview image: Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Mouthless Part II (still), 2021. Courtesy the artists.

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