Kritiker #60 coming out

In online dates spread out during almost a year now, me and my author colleague Elin Bengtsson have been working late pandemic nights in ergonomically questionable sitting positions to make this issue of Kritiker one of the most meticulously edited attempts at mapping aspects of BDSM as a theme in contemporary Nordic literature. Now it’s out there, containing some truly amazing texts and a long foreword for which we really mobilized most of our brain capacity, experience and reading skills. I wish the issue a long life, coming to use for a lot of different people.

October 23, we will host a literary conversation with some of the authors in Nyxxx’s space in Bagarmossen, at Ljusnevägen 3. The Danish novellists Nikolaj Tange Lange and Niels Henning Krag Jensby will talk about penetration and revolution in formations of male homosexual desire. The Finnish cartoonist Edith Hammar and the Swedish poet/editor Ida Mirow will talk about how kinky languages and communities shape literary fiction. Don’t miss it!

You can read more about the issue, and order it, here:


In connection to Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged premiering, the makers Tova Gerge and Britta Kiessling hosted three conversations about passivity with three different guests. Kind of like podcasts but live and on screen. Watch them/hear them here:

Marika Leïla Roux aka Gorgone:

PassiviTV the 20th of November was about being tied and tying in the context of rope bondage: what these roles and their respective skill sets can mean, on a metaphorical as well as aesthetic level. Marika Leïla Roux aka Gorgone has many years of exploration and experimentation with the traditional techniques and emotions of Japanese Rope Bondage (Shibari/Kinbaku). Since discovering ropes in 2011, she has been a professional shibari model and rigger, teaching and performing worldwide. She emphasises the artistic, metaphorical and sensual nuances of this practice. An example is her durational project Study on Falling, exploring the relation between the body and gravity in ropes. She is also the founder of the online tutorials platform Shibari Study. 

Artist-researcher Hamish MacPherson:

PassiviTV the 21 of November was about kink and choreography, politics and passivity. Hamish MacPherson is an artist-researcher in the crossovers between choreography and philosophy. He is busy with the dark and complicated aspects of care, pleasure, passivity and power. Lately, he has been working with the zine STILL LIFE, which is about relationships and configurations in which one person is still while others are not. Or where one person is passive and others are active. Or about the different kinds of knowledge that people have about their own and other people’s bodies. And the kind of philosophical and political understandings woven into that knowledge.

Författaren Eli Levén:

PassiviTV den 22 november handlade om queera helgon, makten, maktlösheten och litteraturen som kraftfull betraktare. Eli Levéns båda romaner “Du är rötterna som sover vid mina fötter och håller jorden på plats” (2010) och “Hur jag skulle vilja försvinna” (2020) berör skymningslanden mellan begär och utplåning, upprättelse och förnedring. Med språket som hållande och lyssnande kraft låter Levén ofta sina karaktärer vistas i olika gränstillstånd som också berör det passiva: i sexualiteten, i livets flöden, i närheten till döden och andlighet. Levéns första bok gav upphov till två filmer: guldbaggebelönade Nånting måste gå sönder (2014) och dokumentären Pojktanten (2012).

The movie Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged is available on request – get in touch.

Program text, Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged

In our ongoing project, Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged, we are premiering a movie instead of a live performance in these strange covid19-times, and learning a lot about digital distribution of events that we never knew before. It’s not only bad, but I miss the audience and the flow of performing deeply.

Passivity Rules / Memories of Being Hanged is a performance and-or film based on movement and speech. Passivity Rules / Memories of Being Hanged builds on experiences of being tied, especially in the context of rope bondage. The piece is a spin-off of the performance Someone You Trust (from 2018).

Passivity rules are systems where passivity facilitates something, opens up something. It is also an interjection, puting passivity first: Passivity rules! Memories of being hanged stands for experiences of losing control over one’s passivity, being close to dying or disappearing, concretely or metaphorically. Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged is about what is going on in a body that seems to sink, let go, lose its grip – or that actually does.

Here, passivity is related to femininity. Our entry point to that is feminist. It’s not that we want to demonstrate that Women Can Do It (be active). Rather, we want to examine passivity as a lived experience, demanding competences and having consequences.

Me and Britta Kiessling wrote and translated a poetic text (from Swedish to English) that circles around passivity and activity in a social, subcultural and personal sense. It’s our program or just a text. I thought I’d share it here.

Summary of Trains and Boats and Planes

Today, I did the last little tasks related to my project Working on Travel aka Trains and Boats and Planes. It is as series of interviews about travels for art, with eighteen amazing persons. I’ve basically been working with the project all through 2019, and I’m very proud of what it became.

If you want to download all the texts in a pdf-format from Skogen’s homepage, you can do it here:
(You can also order the book in paper format from Skogen.)

The pdfs include my introduction, and the most updated versions of the interviews – the blogposts might contain a few more language errors. However, in case you prefer reading on the screen, here are direct links to all the texts available in blog format:

Dinis Machado: Why do you travel so much? 
Ebba Petrén & Gabriel Widing: We can’t remember all the hours 
(also exists in a podcast version in Swedish)
Maria Salah: I never felt before that I don’t want to
Sara Parkman: If you’re in motion, you can’t stop 
Ghayath Almadhoun: If the borders refuse me, I refuse them 
Anna af Sillén de Mesquita & Leandro Zappala: Before, we would have gone along with it 
Amanda Apetrea & Halla Ólafsdóttir: A big part of the work for us is to have a good time 
Elizabeth Ward: I live in between these places, emotionally
Stina Dahlström: Are you handling the carbon offset for this trip, or are we?
Ofelia Jarl Ortega: Different places for different parts of me 
Aino Ihanainen & Alexander Weibel Weibel: It’s ok being in the same place for a while 
Uri Turkenich: We should go live on some hill
Gestalta Judd: It’s a bit of a love-hate relationship 
Katja Larsson: You’re there physically through your object

Apart from these wonderful, generous and bright interviewees who have really taught me so much, I also want to take the occasion to thank Moa Schulman for the super smart and beautiful graphic design, Gabriel Widing who did the type setting with patience and precision and last but not least Gabriella Berggren who gave my English some support to lean on and contributed a lot to the overall quality of the texts within a fairly limited time frame.

The project was created with the support of Skogen and Helge Ax:on Johnsons Stiftelse.


Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged

In 2020, me and Britta Kiessling will continue a choreographic exploration that we initiated in 2019. We wanted to take on the challenge to work with passivity as a performative practice: finding ways of letting the audience gaze see the activities of the passive body, both with the help of speech, choreographic practices and other choices on stage. Out of that desire, Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged was born.

In November 2019, we had the luxury of working on these themes together with Weld Company (and some lovely guests). In the coming year, we will continue working with support from The Swedish Arts Council, in Skogen among other places.

Here are some visual imprints from our process so far:




Working on Travel aka Trains and Boats and Planes

During 2019, I’ve been busy with an interview project about life and travels of artists. I’ve interviewed no less than eighteen bright and generous and smart people. The interviews will be posted on during the autumn. Very much worth a read! The interviews are also published in a book with the same name, that is distributed by Skogen. The book will be available online as a pdf within a near future.TBT_liten
Moa Schulman made the visual material.

The project is coproduced by Skogen and supported by Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse.

Summary from Someone You Trust

Another project that came to an end and continuation this year was Someone You Trust, that premiered in Skogen in Gothenburg 23-25 november 2018, continued to develop at Cirkör Lab in Alby 18-19 January 2019, and will tour during 2019: 11-12 May to Skogen again via Textival’s festival Intimate Acts, 10-11 August to Gylleboverket‘s performance festival and 29 November-1 of December at Inkonst in Malmö.

Here is a trailer for The Watching Act:

Someone You Trust – The Watching Act, trailer from Tova G on Vimeo.

Someone You Trust uses the practice of rope bondage to explore time, trust and consent. The performance is divided into two acts. The audience can choose to come to both of the acts or just one of them (whichever they prefer). If they come to The Participatory Act, they bring someone they trust, and follow recorded voice instructions for tying and being tied. If they come to The Watching Act, they come to a performance alone or in company /whichever they prefer) and watch  Tova Gerge and Britta Kiessling follow instructions that are both similar to and very different from the instructions in the first act.

Both acts with and by:
text: Tova Gerge and Britta Kiessling
performers: Tova Gerge and Britta Kiessling
text eye and rope research: Christian Nilsson
sound: Elize Arvefjord
light, room, costume and mask: Josefina Björk
artistic support: Gabriel Widing och Ebba Petrén

Thanks to:
Everyone in the performing arts collective Nyxxx.
Everyone who helped us to develop the participatory act.

With the support of:
Japanstiftelsen, Längmanska kulturfonden, The Swedish Art’s Grant Committee, Cirkör LAB, and Stockholm County Council

The performance is a result of long preparation. Already in 2015, Nyxxx, Tova Gerge and Christian Nilsson invited the Berlin-based choreographers Dasniya Sommer and Frances D’Ath for a research week on performance and rope bondage. Nyxxx made a podcast in connection to that encounter.

Then in 2016, me and Christian Nilsson were given a traveling grant from Japanstiftelsen to study questions of intimacy in relation to the subculture of rope bondage established in Nagoya, Tokyo and Hamamatsu. We interviewed fourteen professional rope artists active in Japan, practicing what is known as shibari or kinbaku. It has a long, complex and international history connected to both art and pornography. The purpose of the interviews were to gather material for both theoretical and artistic writing. Because the interview material was so extensive, we got another grant from Längmanska kulturfonden to spread the results in different ways. This process is still ongoing.

There is also an even longer back story in mine and Britta Kiessling’s relation to shibari which is fairly long and diverse. Though we tie improvised patterns, we have studied with many teachers to be able to do what we do. Thus, a special thanks to Bergborg, Dasniya Sommer, Naka Akira, Hourai Kasumi, Kanna & Kagura, Gorgone, Pilar Aldea, Gestalta, Hedwig, Pedro and others, not least the ones who tied us or got tied by us.


Summary from the times of the novel

Last year in the autumn, I published a novel, Pojken. You can read a bit more about it in English here, and here, and in Swedish in the press section of this home page ).

It took ten years to write, and it was partly a very tricky process involving many questions of both construction and life. What to tell and what to leave out, for who one writes and why.

Now that it is seemingly over – when also the most intense encounters with press, the author presentations, the facebook discussions and all these things are seemingly over – it has just sunken into the background. It has become self-evident and see-through.

I just want to leave myself a couple of words on it at this point, rediscovering that something transgressive happened for me through the appearance of that book and that it somehow echoes still. I don’t know exactly where it will go from here, but I also see in it an invitation to write again.

This is the cover of the book, Moa Schulman made it.


Blogging in another place

Three times, I will write for the Swedish theatre blog Teaterrummet, all Swedish texts.

The first text is about Swedish politics and was written around the time of the elections:
It is here.

The second text is about death and dramaturgy and was written when my grandmother died:
It is here.

The third text is an investigation of the dramaturgies of sleeplessness:
It is here.