Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė present a series of works, derived from their ongoing Young Girl Reading Group* research project, that deal with performance documentation in its various forms. The visual and olfactory material was generated during their recent performance of Young Girl Reading Group 159: SULK, exhibited at ANTI – 6th Athens Biennale (2018). The artists’ presentation includes a screening of SULK, 2018 and RYXPER1126AE, 2018 fragrance produced in collaboration with International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. RYXPER1126AE is a synthetic molecular replica of the smell gathered during the aforementioned performance. The fragrance is its volatile documentation, a passage between the virtual dimension and the physical body. Seemingly operating beyond the reach of everyday cognitive processes and data collection mechanisms, smell appears as a potential area of resistance to capital’s absorption. Understanding that it is significantly harder to quantitatively pin down the olfactory as a trackable sensation, the artists employ smell in the same way as image documentation, thus problematising the perceived immateriality of smell. Gawęda and Kulbokaitė think of smell as a hazy medium that is speculative and could be employed as a choreographic, but also sculptural element (given its temporality and spatiality). Further thinking through Foucauldian biopolitics and pharmacopornographic regime (Paul B. Preciado), we can no longer understand bodies as finite unities but instead fluid, porous cartographies or else distributed networks of corporate agency (Margarida Mendes).
*Young Girl Reading Group (YGRG) initiated by Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė in 2013 in Berlin is an ongoing serial project which examines the relationships between reading, affect, distraction, togetherness and disunity, bodily and virtual presence, live action and documentation. With YGRG, the artists are interested in how the collective experience can be inscribed in space and how language can become material and embodied. YGRG is a sonar-social architecture of shared curiosity and synchronicity; it is a live Instagram hangout, unfolding as a porous encounter with the world in both virtual and material terms. YGRG is a self-conscious aesthetic chamber for intimacy and discovery which renders the body and its surroundings as the site of an active and ongoing set of relations. For YGRG, the body of flesh, the location of the reading, the technology used, personifies language, performs text, presents that very contradiction – of processing material to immaterial, immaterial to material – complexities of perceived bodies and environments. The body is re-texualised through technology, and the reading is made public and embodied positing the interdependence of the text, the body, the environment and the technology.