Action (Syria)


Solo museum performance by Keith Hennessy presented by Impulstanz (Vienna) as part of Redefining Action(ism). Keith’s performance occurred within My Body Is The Event, a major retrospective exhibit on Viennese Actionism. Hennessy’s performance cannibalizes the tactics of Actionism to address the current crises in Syria. Making several direct references and quotations to 1960s-70s body art, action, and performance, including 1960s works by Günter Brus and Otto Muehl and Abromovic’s Freeing The Voice (1976), Keith performed a social, sonic, embodied, and visual intervention of the pristine museum space. Museum officials initially tried to prevent Hennessy’s performance from working directly in the Actionist vocabulary of paint, piss, nudity, mess, and disruption but after several meetings and disagreements the performance and wall painting were allowed. Big thanks to curator/organizer Christine Standfest. The work was originally titled ActionJism.

Action (Syria) program note:

What is the difference between intervening on nazi-bourgeois obedience in Vienna in the 1960s when nazi guilt was fresh AND intervening on fascist-bourgeois obedience in Vienna in 2015, when colonial-capitalist guilt is distracted by neoliberal cults of anxiety, precarity, Adidas, (gay) marriage, and iPhone?

Above: Action (Syria) 2015, mumok Vienna, Impulstanz. Photos by Karolina Miernik.