(An earlier iteration of Vomitorium—closed at the start of the pandemic—was at Queenslab, The Kitchen’s partner venue in Ridgewood, New York.)
Organized by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen, the show is a “tragicomic reenactment of the history of meta-theater from religious ritual to live-streaming, Zoom, and Twitch. The artists transition between multiple genres, genders, ages, tropes, eras, and personae, with Bernstein playing Onkos, the Greek mask of tragedy, and Rubin playing multiple versions of Eros. They play-through arcane and new modes of performance documentation from Classical diagrams to Victorian photo journals, as well as the parallel domestication of Eros into Cupid.”*
The vomitorium is traced from its origin as a passageway in amphitheaters to the current socially reflexive architecture built for Instagram selfie-stories—comparing the way audiences watch each other watching each other binging and purging media. The impossible wish for a 360-degree perspective is shown to mark both panoptic social media and counter-surveillance tactics; normative and queer gazes. Played on four unconnected screens, Vomitorium is inlaid by Baroque frames—juxtaposing maximalist convolution with the fashionable metaphysics of presence and transparency. Virtually real versions of Vomitorium will be simultaneously made available on the new media app Ortvi.*
Through September 6.
Löwenbräukunst, Limmatstrasse 270, Zürich.
Felix Bernstein and Gabe Rubin, The Total Vomitorium, Luma Westbau, Schwarzescafé, June 9, 2020–September 6, 2020, photographs by Nelly Rodriguez, images courtesy and © the artists and David Lewis, New York.