in English

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.

The Ethics of Employing Intimacy in Audience Participatory Performing Arts

I was invited to give a lecture at a conference with the title Post-Epic Dramaturgy –International perspectives on the dramaturgical practice taking place at Stockholm University of Arts the 28th-29th of March 2018. On the 28th, when I was scheduled, the headline was Spatial Interventions. I ended up talking about the ethics of employing intimacy in audience participatory performing arts. I also ended up recording the lecture. Here is the recording:

If you would rather read than listen, you can download this pdf:

The Infection

The Swedish art magazine Paletten asked me to write something on desire and disaster in English for their Venice Biennale edition. I did – inspired by my present state of being…

The Infection

It is my twenty-third consecutive day of having the flu.

This ever mutating flu that belongs to everyone and has no boundaries.

I keep saying to the people working in the venues that I am not that sick,

but then again I am really not that well.

Fever on, fever off.

If I have a night of decent sleep

– the kind of sleep that feels like work because it is meant to make me fit –

then the next night keeps me up with burning tonsils.


Once or twice in the past when I had a job that I was less eager about,

I tried staying in bed on my first day of illness, and it really helped a lot.

But I tell myself

since I missed the critical moment this time,

the one point where I could have suppressed the revolt of my body,

what is the point in resting anymore?

The infection will take revenge anyways, ride me for weeks and weeks.


The adrenaline rush from stepping in front of the audience wipes out my symptoms momentarily.

I perform in a haze, blurred out faces mirroring my motions with their nods.

Afterwards, muscle pains of different types mix with each other into peculiar cramps.

The cramps repeat the patterns of the choreography

even when I am trying to be still in order to be able to repeat it all tomorrow.


I hate performing arts when it is like this.

Performing arts means ephemeral and difficult to finance.

Performing arts means extremely unnegotiable deadlines.

Performing arts means collegues that flew in from other countries.

Performing arts means people who either see us perform or do not see us perform.

Performing arts means the purest form of narcissistic bliss

on these evenings where showtime coincides with the triumph of the body.

Performing arts leaves it up to me to know my boundaries when the infection knows none.

Performing arts leaves it up to me to shape my boundaries, make them fit to these conditions.


I started dancing because I wanted to be superhuman.

I started dancing because I wanted to make friends with death.

I started dancing because it was never to late to become a dancer.

Should I then pause my dancing for a minor flu?

Should I not rather affirm the infection as a part of the process,

make it integral to the performance, as if it was meant to be there all along?

That is how I always operate

with the other mental and physical states that occur when I am dancing.

I try to stay alert to what is there,

I relish in it and I deeply forget about tomorrow.
But what I love to do when I am well is intolerable to do when I am ill.

The emotional thruth of illness is the wish for time to pass.

I started writing to pass time when time was insufferable.

When I write, there are no witnesses to my condition

and I can always send in the job via email from my bed.


On the stage my nose is running for everyone to see,

and I am breaking sweat for nothing.

Afterwards, someone will warn me about myocarditis

as so to remind me that I can say no.


Sure, I can say no to performing with a fever.

I can send the collegues home,

hand back the funding

and tell the audience to come another day.

The only thing I cannot say no to is infection,

but I do it anyways.


I say no to infection and yes to performance.

I perform because it is the normal thing to do if you are on tour.

I perform because of the specific wound that labor is in our constitutions.

I perform because the body will always be a metaphor for the society that it lives in.

I perform because of my willingness to be deceived when it comes to my own efficiency,

I perform because I am sticky and I attatch to almost everything.

I convince myself that the infection can be scheduled, convinced, reprogrammed,

like a person.


I know that I will never be able to control the operations of infection.

It is not a person and and she can not be mastered by pure will.

It would take something else; like a change of global mobility,

like a way to stop all mutations,

like an end to history.


I alone do not have that power,

and yet I wish to have power over something.

In my twenty-third consecutive day of struggling,

I continue to negotiate with the flu.

I negotiate for something as commonplace as art.

Please forgive me if it earns me myocarditis.

Just tonight, I promise the infection,

because I really want to finish this cycle

– then never again will I defy the decrees

to rest and sleep,

to drink and eat,

to keep silent and to not meet people.

To keep my eyes closed,

block the world out,

concentrate on only her.


I ask her, as one asks a parent:

Is that enough, infection? Can I then be cured?


Where Were We, documentation

This year, I’ve established a project together with Israeli choreographer Uri Turkenich. The project went through different forms. First, we played games with Inana, then we had a Derridian episode at Skogen, after that we danced with the cool kids in Berlin at 3AM and now in October we went physical in Weld. The project deals with intimate conversations as a performative practice. During the coming year we will tour a bit and we would like to tour more (so ask us to come by writing to me!).

Here is a documentation of the performance – a part of me learning to video edit, by the way. Above is an image from the performance (snapped by Marika Troili or Sofie Anderson; unsure) and here is a link to the festival we were part of at Weld. The project was supported by The Swedish Arts Grant Committee, but also by, who made an interview with us here.