Alexandra Bachzetsis: Escape Act

Pioneer Works is pleased to present the US premier of Alexandra Bachzetsis’ Escape Act, following its tour through Europe at venues such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris. A major new work, Escape Act marks the launch of a performance initiative at Pioneer Works that aims to support artists who work in between theater, visual art, sound, and choreography.

Escape Act begins with a dancer striking a series of poses. Their face, masked by black fabric, obscures their gender, though the dancer bears all the traditional signifiers of a woman: electric orange high heels, ponytail, a feminine, bodily shape. If Escape Act signifies anything though, it’s that signifiers can’t be trusted. Within the work, women disrobe to reveal that they’re men, only for the men to reveal themselves as women. Gender identities are represented as over-the-top, hyper-stereotypical, and unstable, as one shifts into another. The specter of ball culture and voguing looms over Bachzetsis’ choreography, as do strip clubs and—particularly—drag, in which sport is made of one identity “passing” for another.

We can think of passing as a kind of escape, or, as a call for action—a directive to take apart assigned, normative behaviors, as transgender theorist and activist Paul B. Preciado calls for in his poem Love is a drone, excerpts from which are spoken by Bachzetsis’ performers. In Escape Act, image is everything, and Bachzetsis defines it not as an ideal to aspire to, but a hegemony to dismantle.

This performance contains adult content.

The New York presentation of Escape Act was supported by kurimanzutto, Mexico City / New York and the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York.

Concept and Choreography: Alexandra Bachzetsis Creation and Performance: Alexandra Bachzetsis, Jia-Yu Corti, Tamar Kisch,  Owen Ridley-DeMonick, Gus Solomons/Philippe Beloul, Johanna Willig-Rosenstein, Sotiris Vasiliou Text: Paul B. Preciado (Excerpts from the poem Love is a droneCollaboration, Dramaturgy and Movement Director: Anne Pajunen Collaboration, Dramaturgy and Objects: Sotiris Vasiliou Communication Design: Julia Born Photography: Blommers/Schumm Costume Design: Christian Hersche in collaboration with Ulla Ludwig Music: Lies Vanborm, François De Meyer (Audiotheque) Music Research: Anna Zaradny Light Design/Technique: Patrik Rimann Production: Association All Exclusive Management: Anna Geering Production Assistant: Marina Miliou, Felipe Katotriotis Tour Management: Daphni Antoniou Casting Assistant: Daphni Antoniou, Claudia Toggweiler

Supported by: Stadt Zürich, Kanton Zürich and Pro Helvetia-Schweizer Kulturstiftung, Fachausschuss Tanz und Theater BS/BL, Société Suisse des Auteurs, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Migros-Kulturprozent, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, kurimanzutto

Co-production: Gessnerallee (Zürich), PACT Zollverein (Essen), HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), Les spectacles vivants du Centre Pompidou (Paris), Kaserne Basel, Tanzhaus Zürich

A project within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media


About the Artist

Alexandra Bachzetsis is a choreographer and visual artist, based in Basel (CH) and Zurich (CH). Her practice unfolds at the intersection of dance, performance, the visual arts and theater, generating a conflation of the spaces in which the body, as an artistic and critical apparatus, can manifest. Since Bachzetsis started working independently in 2001, she has created over 24 pieces, often working collaboratively, which have been shown in theaters, festivals and public space venues worldwide. In addition to this, her work has been exhibited in a variety of contemporary art spaces and museums, including Kunsthalle Basel (Basel, 2008), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 2013 and 2015), Tate Modern (London, 2014) and the Jumex Museum (Mexico City, 2014), as well as a number of international biennials, such as the 5th Berlin Biennial (Berlin, 2008), (d)OCUMENTA 13 (Kassel, 2012) and the Biennial of Moving Images (Geneva, 2014). Bachzetsis was nominated for the DESTE Prize (2011) and is a laureate of the Migros Kulturprozent Jubilee Award (2007), the Swiss Art Award (2011 and 2016) and Swiss Performance Prize (2012). In 2016, Bachzetsis participated in “The Parliament of Bodies” and “Continuum”, Public Programmes at documenta 14. In January 2017, she presented Massacre: Variations on a Theme at MoMA, New York City. Later that year her work was included in documenta 14 exhibitions at Athens and Kassel.