Louise Westerhout

Ex Human

Film & Live Performance

By Louise Westerhout and Roxanne De Freitas.

In a posthumanist landscape two femmes, as survivors of the patriarchal apocalypseTM, are attempting to find the cure for sexual violence. What you see is their research, methodology and experimentation taking us to the edge of known scientific paradigms and prompting us to ask the question: are we witnessing symptoms of dissociative PTSD, or gaining access to a portal into a future in which immunity is assured? 

EX HUMAN (film)

Featured at National Arts Festival South Africa 2021. https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/arcade2021

Featured at Vrystaat Kunstefees Snelstroom Oct 2021

Trailer for film: https://youtu.be/ddrwM-7JsTc

Ex Human (live performance)

“We, as co-survivors, have gravitated towards one another to find new languages, forms and performance modes to express and share our and others’ experiences of sexual abuse. We feel that the language and policy around what has come to be known as Gender-Based Violence is dead language, used in the passive voice without an agent, and this manifests in the real as if violence emerges out of nothing and evaporates into the air. As survivors, we are left only with recurring questions, confusion, isolation, and no consequences or change in the world. As artists, we feel that the way GVB is performed amounts to a recapitulation of violence, it hides behind the fourth wall and leans on tropes, drama, spectacle and sentimentality. We are looking to interface our real live experiences and those of others with performance in order to find a dialectic or language that does justice to those experiences, and then to share them anew. This is why we are moving in the mode of Sci-Fi and speculative fiction: to defamiliarise. One cannot solve a problem from the same paradigm from which the problem emerges; as Audre Lorde writes, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” 

Excerpt from Audre Lorde’s live Lecture “Uses of the Erotic as a Source of Power”

EX HUMAN is a live work, a hybrid of live art, performance lecture, and installation. The work is process driven: we are constantly receiving and recording information and facts, gathering data of sexual violence and according to our own scientific methods are trying to understand, translate, resolve. The science lab

Our experiences are the genesis of our art/work/science/research. As beings transformed by these experiences, we present as characters from speculative fiction: two lab scientists in PPE working to develop a vaccine against sexual violence. Our research has led us to work with a “plant technology”, gloop, which we believe resets DNA, allows us to elevate, and may just be a cure. Gloop is a medium within the piece which provides focus, levity, pivot and speculation. Gloop is also a translation device – it unclogs the nervous and cerebral systems, detoxifying our programmed responses and language around our experiences of abuse. It helps us to develop an uncluttered, crisp, dialectical rigour to speak the facts of what happened to us, without sentimentality, fear, cushioning, censoring or second-guessing. Through gloop we speak with the plainness of a child before they have been told to stay silent. 

Photographs by Lorin Sookool and Megan Choritz.

Link to Teaser here: https://youtu.be/c0HuOYYHqic

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