WOMBTOMB is the third performance/installation in Michael Dudeck Witch Doctor’s Religion project, which involves the invention of a queer religion and prehistory which radically re-imagines the nature of human origins. This performance is a meditation upon the death and sex rituals of one of the factions of Dudeck’s mythology, which involves the invention of a multiplicity of genitalia and hybrid genders (and invented sexual acts to accommodate modified genders) as well as elaborate ritual sacrifice and mummification procedures. Separated into three movements, the work features a cast of five performers, including Dudeck, as well as live sound by composer/sound artist Andy Rudolph. The work is roughly 60 minutes long and features nudity.
WOMBTOMB developed out of a 28-day residency at the Watermill Center, where Dudeck underwent a vow of silence and experimented with monastic practises for the research and creation of his performance/exhibition Amygdala in January. The performance featured Dudeck as a venerated priest in an all-female religious sect, enacting a ritual that involved worship, prayer, and a sacrifical male victim. This performance carries on this practice, but explores the notion of offering and sacrifice. Here, the male victim exists somewhere between food and mana ; he is bound, cared for, protected and digested by a small group of multi-gendered forms from Dudeck’s mythology. Still in it’s infancy, the production is not complete. It is a meditation, a means by which new rituals and ceremonies present themselves to be integrated into larger bodies of work, or performed in isolation in future contexts.
The performance features collaboration with Andy Rudolph, a sound-artist and composer who has created software that allows for the performers to self-generate the audio that the audience experiences as part of the performance. His role is one of an intermediate between the raw actions of the performance and the audience ; bridging the ritual performance and the perceptive position of the audience. His sound-work uses touch as a means to trigger audio environments.
The performers in the show, Kristen Andrews, Mia Star Van Leeuwen and Andrea Von Wichert (Winnipeg, Canada) integrate with Ryan Brewer (NYC) and Dudeck himself for the performance. The work utilizes psychic phenomena from the performers themselves, and seeks an integrative approach to the construction of narrative. The ceremony is a succession of smaller rituals that the artists have collaboratively created within the context of Dudeck’s invented cosmogony, with Dudeck performing alongside of them.
Michael Dudeck Witch Doctor is a performance artist and cultural engineer whose work spans multiple media. He has performed and exhibited internationally at venues including the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Platform Center for Photographic and Digital Art and aceartinc (Winnipeg), Pari Nadimi Gallery (Toronto), John Connelly Presents (New York), and the Watermill Center (New York).
Andy Rudolph is a Winnipeg-based sound artist and composer who works in multiple media, including musical composition for voice and instruments, digital composition, and spatial sound-works and installations. He has worked with the artists Rebecca Belmore and Noam Gonick, as well as having produced his own sound/music project The Calculus Affair and performing with the band Mahogany Frog.
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