For her new solo show, The Pressing, premiered July 29th, 2022 at Radialsystem in Berlin, Dani Brown re-appropriates the word CUNT with a capital C from its realm of vulgarity and gives herself, her body, soul, intellect, her dance and choreographic practice over to what she is terming a CUNT entity. Together with CUNT Brown creates a world of speculation, belief, queer narrative, and a solo performance that surpasses one's own self.
The preoccupation with the vulva spreads through all genres of art, from feminist performance art of the seventies (V.Export, G.Pane, C.Schneemann) to pop-cultural phenomena of today (e.g. Liv Strömquist's graphic novel "The Origin of the World", or Janelle Monae's music video "PYNK"). In Brown’s new work she takes another step in this long line of preoccupation with pussy, she gives herself over to CUNT, a procedure at the center of the preparation for and execution of The Pressing. Brown starts with the physical qualities of the female sexual organ, the neural connections between brain, clitoris and carnal knowledge seeking out the expressive possibilities of this anatomically and socially complex organ. Incorporating the notion of a CUNT entity as her interlocutor, dialogue partner, diva, psychic, her director, and at times channeled performer, Brown asks what a vulva-oriented / cunt-centric performance would look, feel and sound like. A virtuosic performer in her own right she generates slippery movement principles, poetic stories, hilarious monologues and marvelous songs from the perspective of CUNT.
Accompanied sonically by the immersive music of artist and DJ Justin F. Kennedy who weaves their own queer ode to CUNT throughout the show with laid tracks, historic samples and their own angelic voice. The stage setting, designed by the Belgian designer Jan Fack with huge floral arrangements and live moths curated by Project Cultivation (Kieran Behan and Sina Kempe), is inspired by the sensually luscious and equally complex Vanitas paintings of the 16th and 17th century.
Brown’s body gets hard, sweaty and juicy morphing along familiar bodyscapes of human and non-human beings; animals, plants, medusas, film divas and plain old thinglyness. The Pressing explores the subtle, fluid, swelling, warm and sweaty minefield of the invisible activity of neurotransmitters, hormones, body tissues and essential needs and desires central to the social and politically complex entity CUNT.
Artistic Direction, Performance: Dani Brown
Sound Design, Performance: Justin F. Kennedy (Sound credits for the Berlin shows July 2022)
Dramaturgy: Maja Zimmermann
Light Design, Technical Direction: Catalina Fernandez
Floral Design by: Project Cultivation from Kieran Behan and Sina Kempe
Stage Design: Jan Fack
Production: Marcela Donato
Photo, Video: Daniel K.B. Schmidt
PR and Marketing: Lola and The Bean
Sound Mastering: Florian von Keyserlingk
THE PRESSING is a production from Dani Brown in co-production with Radialsystem Berlin, Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR. With much appreciated support from Arsenic Lausanne, PACT, ImpulsTanz, O'espaco do Tempo, Tanz Haus Zurich, New Fears Gallery for Dance and Performance, Trauma Bar and Kino, and Pharos Arts Foundation.