sungazing (رضایت) |
Hebbel am Ufer  

                                                                        

sungazing by LABOUR | photo credits: Evelyn Bencicova, Michal Kebis

sungazing is LABOUR’s latest series of works that takes the obscure eponymous practice as a conceptual center for the creation of immersive multidisciplinary performances; finding inspiration in Zoroastrianism and its rituals revolving around fire and the sun, sungazing dives further into the possibilities within club culture’s hedonism to political action and civil disobedience. Engaging multiple collaborators for each site-specific iteration, the duo first created various tokens of linguistic expression out of the word 'sungazing' in order to engage it as a heuristic tool for cultural reflection. Tokens, via the linguist Wilfrid Sellars, are when one word has a relevantly similar usage to another meaning-statement, and can expose something new in the linkage. LABOUR’s understanding of sungazing contains elements of warning, of seduction, of danger on the one hand, and of potential discovery, attainment of knowledge and wisdom on the other hand, highlighting this tension within intense processes of self-realization. Through this research, they engage a range of ideas and references including Plato’s Allegory of the Cave; Ikarus’ flight to the sun; the immolating tides of the sun versus the health benefits promised by sungazing’s late great practitioner Hira Ratan Manek; a twisted version of Zurvan’s birthing story of Ahura Mazda and Arhiman; Nick Land’s poisonous thesis The Dark Enlightenment; Techno-Capitalism via Ashkan Sepahvand; and reflections on instrumentalising means of bodily chemical excitation via Dan Graham's video essay Rock My Religion. The result is a spatial-sonic work with variable interwoven elements and mediums, embracing LABOUR’s dedication to rupture as a formal device to imagine radically different realities. 

Just two weeks after Kraftwerk, LABOUR debuted the theater version at HAU Hebbel am Ufer, adding the parenthetical Farsi word for ‘consent’ to the title. Based on the same musical dramaturgy, this new iteration was site-specific to the space with electronic music, drumset, two dancers, ten performers, video, printed fabrics and light. The opening section featured their sonic activation format: the audience advanced from the entrance through the stairwell and into the foyer as percussionists moved in sonic choreography to address the acoustic conditions of these spaces and attune audience senses before arriving in the theater space. The 24-meters of printed fabric, presented in a type of procession along with drumset, activated the theater space and transitioned the public into a more traditional seated environment with frontal stage where the remaining piece unfolds, eventually closing with an immersive light and sound spectacle where strobes seems to enter the viewers head, and the closed eyelids become the subjective mediator for an intense internal confrontation with light.



sungazing by LABOUR | video shot and edited by Michal Kebis 


concept, direction & music: LABOUR (Farahnaz Hatam & Colin Hacklander)  

performance: Cassie Augusta Jørgensen, Daniil Simkin 
video art direction: Evelyn Bencicova, Enes Güç, Zeynep Schilling  
3d visual assistant: Alejandro Spano
visual assistant: Sofie Van Royen
light: MFO (Marcel Weber)  

movement consultant: Johnny McMillan  
additional shaker & flag performers:  Marcelo Alcaide, Arthur Baron, Greta Billstein, Benjamin Flesser, Paula Keilholz, Sofie Van Royen, Alejandro Spano
costumes: Marcelo Alcaide  
production: LABOUR
production management: REIF
co-production: HAU Hebbel am Ufer  and REIF 
special thanks to:  Callie’s and Outer
documentation video by: Michal Kebis

Performed at Hebbel Am Ufer on Dec 3rd, 2022.