ANTONIA BAEHR, LATIFA LAÂBISSI & NADIA LAURO: Consul and Meshie
© Nadia Lauro
“Monkeys and apes have a privileged relation to nature and culture for western people: simians occupy the border zones between those potent mythic poles. In the border zones, love and knowledge are richly ambiguous and productive of meanings.” — Donna Haraway, Primate Visions, 1989
Apes, at least great apes are among the “almost human” animals. This “almost” has turned them into a surface onto which humans project their ideas of what it means to be human. At the beginning of the 20th century the chimpanzees Consul and Meshie lived among humans as humans and came to consider themselves human. Antonia Baehr and Latifa Laâbissi adopt their own apish identities – with no guarantee for historical accuracy. Hairy and morally free, insolent and shameless, these two human monkeys occupy Nadio Lauro’s visual installation, which is roughly and casually nested away from the stage in quiet little corners of theatres and museums. From two leather limousine seats, whose furry innards gradually spread into the room, Consul Baehr and Meshie Laâbissi exhibit themselves for 3 1/2 hours at a time while the audience is free to come and go. A human being is an ape for human beings. Or: two human figures act as apes that act as humans for humans. They lose control and regain it by training each other. They zealously learn know-hows and don’t-know-hows. They sleep and lapse into apathy. They cannibalize poses, iconic dances, and stitch feminist slogans. Consul and Meshie represent hybrid figures that question the violence of assignations and make a mess in the categories of nature/culture, man/woman, and self/other.
ATTENTION: The performance will be at Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier.
Within the scope of Antarctica. A Symposium on Alienation. Admission is included with symposium day ticket.