Online from 17 October to 29 November
Cherophobia is a 48-hour durational living installation by Noëmi Lakmaier. It is an attempt to lift the artist’s bound and immobilised body off the ground using 20,000 helium party balloons. It is a performance and a gathering, intertwining people in their shared suspense and anticipation.
The film, edited by Sophie Mallett from the live stream footage, is a considered meditation on duration and space. Covering the entire 48 hours of the live performance, it captures the industrious pace of inflating 20,000 balloons, the careful rope work to bound and suspend the body, the eventual moment of lift off and the slow passage of time until the end of the live performance.
The film is accompanied by a specially commissioned publication by writer Mary Paterson, exploring the proposition presented by the incredible task of suspending a body from helium balloons, the relationship between the performer and the space, the object and the viewer, the possible and the impossible. The publication is designed by Hannah Ellis, with photos by Grace Gelder and pinhole images by Tina Rowe.
Cherophobia takes its title from a psychiatric condition, defined as ‘an exaggerated or irrational fear of gaiety or happiness’, a state of being where one sabotages any chance at joy and pleasure for fear that something terrible might happen if this was achieved. Cherophobia is the state of suspension between the desired happiness and the terror of perceived consequences.
Cherophobia is a work of contrasts and opposites, of the push and pull between fear and desire, freedom and constraint and about our responsibility to make choices. The cheerful, happy image of a giant cloud of balloons stands in stark contrast to the artist's bound, restricted and immobilised body, while the helium-filled balloons pulling upwards are in turn constrained by the building.
Cherophobia took place for the first time in September 2016 at Shoreditch Church in London and again the following year at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. It was broadcast live to audiences around the world.
Noëmi Lakmaier's work explores notions of the ‘Other’ ranging from the physical to the philosophical, the personal to the political. The individual's relationship to its surroundings, identity, and perception of self and other in contemporary society are core interests in her predominantly site responsive, live and installation based practice. Lakmaier's work aims to emphasise and exaggerate the relationship between object, individual and space. Through the use of everyday materials as well as her own body and the bodies of others, she constructs temporary living installations alternative physical realities exploring the psychological implications of power, control and insecurity, the drive to belong and succeed as well as feelings of self doubt and otherness. She is interested in the presence of the viewer as voyeur and how this presence can act as the catalyst that galvanises an event and creates a tension and a divide between ‘Them’ – the passive observer and the ‘Other’ – the objects of their gaze.
Cherophobia was originally commissioned by Unlimited, a festival celebrating extraordinary new works by disabled and Deaf artists. Image credit: Tina Rowe.
LADA Screens is a series of free, online screenings of seminal performance documentation, works to camera, short films/video and archival footage. It is part of Live Online, LADA’s dedicated space where you can watch short videos and films drawn from LADA’s Study Room or generated through our programmes and initiatives.
Each screening will be available to view for a limited time only, and will be launched with a live event at our space in Bethnal Green, London. Online art magazine, thisistomorrow will also feature the films on their website for the duration of the screenings.
LADA Screens is curated by the Live Art Development Agency (LADA). LADA is a 'Centre for Live Art': a knowledge centre, a production centre for programmes and publications, a research centre setting artists and ideas in motion, and an online centre for digital experimentation, representation and dissemination.
For more information about LADA Screens please contact Alex Eisenberg.
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