A tragicomic reenactment of the history of meta-theater from religious ritual to live-streaming, Zoom, and Twitch. The artists transition between multiple genres, genders, ages, tropes, eras, and personae, with Felix Bernstein playing Onkos, the Greek mask of tragedy, and Gabe Rubin playing multiple versions of Eros. They play-through arcane and new modes of performance documentation from Classical diagrams to Victorian photo journals, as well as the parallel domestication of Eros into Cupid.
The vomitorium is traced from its origin as a passageway in amphitheaters to the current socially reflexive architecture built for Instagram selfie-stories—comparing the way audiences watch each other watching each other binging and purging media. The impossible wish for a 360-degree perspective is shown to mark both panoptic social media and counter-surveillance tactics; normative and queer gazes.
Played on four unconnected screens, Vomitorium is inlaid by Baroque frames—juxtaposing maximalist convolution with the fashionable metaphysics of presence and transparency. Virtually real versions of Vomitorium will be simultaneously made available on the new media app Ortvi.
Felix Bernstein and Gabe Rubin are Brooklyn-based artists. Their work together has been presented at MOCA Los Angeles, Issue Project Room, Anthology Film Archives, the Drawing Center, Reena Spaulings Fine Arts, Pilar Corrias Gallery, Artists Space, David Lewis Gallery, the Kitchen and the Whitney Museum of American Art. At the Whitney, they staged and performed Bernstein’s libretto Bieber Bathos Elegy in 2016 and Mayo Thompson’s Victorine (with Art & Language) for the 2012 Whitney Biennial. Rubin performed in Jill Kroesen’s Collecting Injustices at the Whitney in 2017. Bernstein’s writing has been featured in Art in America, Artforum, Poetry Magazine, Spike Arts Magazine, Bomb, Mousse, May Revue, Bookforum, and Texte Zur Kunst.
Rubin and Bernstein presented an earlier version of Vomitorium in March 2020, for The Kitchen’s Queensland space in Ridgewood, NY, which was curated by Tim Griffin and Matthew Lyons.
Image: Video still from Felix Bernstein and Gabe Rubin, Vomitorium 360°, (2019–2020). Courtesy the artists and David Lewis, New York.
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