michael dudeck witchdoctor performs

Posted on September 17th, 2011


photos by emilio rojas
text by emilio rojas

Michael Dudeck Witchdoctor

Wombtomb ( territory)

How to re-imagine or create a prehistoric queer religion is a question that Michael Dudeck has tried to answer and performed for the past two years. Well before the performance started the smoke had already filled all the space, and transformed it into a sensorial experience, that was hard to endure. Can we transcend gender as we create our own realities while performing? Or do we just reinforce gender constructs by entering the realm of mythology?

What does a mythological neo-shamanic creature with six breasts try to communicate while holding a mutated plastic rifle? (with horns on the front and animal fur on the back ) For me he is challenging the notions of what we considered sacred, and by doing so, enlarging the definition of what should belong to the sacred realms and queer history. She constantly changes our perception of gender, body, and identity, while presenting us with a hermaphrodite creature, whose sex is continually metamorphosing. He begins covered with a grey cloth, which eventually is removed to reveal her naked body.  His skin is all painted in white, which contrasts with her pitch-black hair and the dot on his forehead is neon orange, which matches the hue of the muzzle of the rifle.

She mainly interacts with this object throughout the performance. Is it a weapon, an enchanted object, or  a common tool of an another world we do not have access to in this reality? His actions are all taken from a plurality of rituals and religions, postures that I recognize from my own spiritual practice. She kneels, bows, prays, walks in circles, chants, meditates, surrenders, speaks in an invented language, crawls around the space, and screams. The actions flow seamless, each and every glimpse enchants us. He is going deeper and deeper into a state of trance, going around in circles, marking her ground.  It is through the repetition of these movements that we began noticing the power of this ritual, the aura that is left after she passes by. He begins to make eye contact with the audience; her sight is fearless, primal, he is ready to attack. She is completely naked, but his body is not vulnerable, it is like she has protected  his body through this ceremony, she is out of our reach. The repetition of the actions continues, the audience comes and goes, although he never stops – the weapon is always at her arm’s reach. At some point he leaves the circle, and exits the space, and we are not sure if the performance is over, his presence still remains even when his body has left.