Contagious Collaboration

Bossing Images 2

March 26, 2012, 7-10pm, NGBK Berlin

Are power struggles inevitable in every collaboration? Do these struggles infect the images that are being worked with? Do images provoke collaboration? Can collaboration itself be considered contagious?

Invited guests: Helen Chadwick’s S-8 documentation of her performance Domestic Sanitation (1976), Renate Lorenz (Berlin), Sandra Ortmann (Berlin)
Zaungast: Eva von Redecker (Berlin)

Still from Domestic Sanitation (Helen Chadwick, 1976, Super-8 film, 30'). Courtesy of

Still from Domestic Sanitation (Helen Chadwick, 1976, Super-8 film, 30′). Courtesy of

In Helen Chadwick’s 1976 collective performance piece Domestic Sanitation, grainily documented on Super 8 film, women do … things. In the first section, Latex Glamour Rodeo, latex-clad divas wander about their underground lair, rehearsing a series of cryptic rituals such as brushing each other’s pubic hair. In the second section, Bargain Bed Bonanza, four beds take the stage, smoking, dancing, vacuuming, and generally acting out.

During the event, guests Renate Lorenz and Sandra Ortmann will draw on tools of collaboration, contagion, queer feminism, and especially BDSM to establish a framework through which to discuss with and about Domestic Sanitation. What roles do the performers—including the guests themselves—occupy during their performances and to what ends? What rules are created and broken during artistic, sexual, and economic collaborations? What are the limits of artworks and our relationship to them, and what happens when these are overrun?

There will be two screenings of Domestic Sanitation before the event starts at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. sharp. The live performance/discussion will start promptly at 8:00 p.m.

The event will take place in German and English. Spontaneous translation will be provided (from German to English and English to German, as well as other languages if possible). People are invited to contribute in whichever language they feel most comfortable in.

Helen Chadwick (1953–1996, UK) is a multimedia artist whose wry, often provocative work explores gender and sexuality, the body, and the self. Diving into the fervent feminist debates about the representation of “women’s bodies” in the 1970s and 80s, Chadwick’s early work often used her own body to challenge discourses about female roles, ideals, and lives. Later on in her career, her strategies shifted to drawing on more abstract vocabularies to discuss the body, including using human and animal body parts and innards. In her 1991–92 work Piss Flowers, for instance Chadwick made a series of casts of flower-shaped forms she created by peeing with her partner into snow. Chadwick was one of the first women to be shortlisted for Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize in 1987. She died suddenly in 1996 from a rare virus.

Sandra Ortmann is a queer feminist activist, art educator, psychologist, and burlesque performer. From 2008 to the end of 2011, she led the art education program at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel. Prior to this, she gave tours at the 5th berlin biennial for contemporary art and at documenta 12. Currently she is working on the maybe education of dOCUMENTA (13). The focus of her artistic work is on engaging with performative, conceptual, and (left)radical strategies, preferably with her boyband the Sissy Boyz. She has booked shows for Lynn Breedlove, was a singer in the punk band “too rude to be cute,” acted in Katrina Daschner’s film Aria de Mustang, and creates workshops on BDSM and queer themes, as well as on (performative) art education in museums. She has published the video documentation step up and be vocal – Interviews zu Queer Punk und Feminismus in San Francisco with Uta Busch (2001), the zine you rock my world (2003), as well as various essays on critical and performative art education since 2007.

Renate Lorenz works as an artist and a freelance writer particularly in the fields of queer theory and art theory. Her artistic work with Pauline Boudry engages with archives of historical (portrait) photography and film. Here, they focus on the history of sexual and gender discourses and practices, as well as on the meaning and relevance of “visibility” ( Their most recent work includes No Future/No Past (Venice Bienniale 2011, The Power Plant, Toronto) and Toxic (Paris Trienniale 2012). Lorenz’s latest publications are Temporal Drag (Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2011, with Boudry) and Queer Art (Transcript, Bielefeld, 2012). She is a professor of art and research at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.


Bossing Images ist ein Projekt der (is a project of) Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK Berlin),organisiert von (organized by) Antke Engel and Jess Dorrance (Institute for Queer Theory), unter Mitwirkung von (in collaboration with) Renate Lorenz.


See also: Bossing Images series
Bossing Images book
Bossing Images blog