SASHA WOLFE / ELLEN ZAHNISER
“re. TRANSVERBERATION” presents itself as a mildly frazzled, ostensibly academic PowerPoint presentation on the subject of the Divine Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila. A lecturer frantically tries to make sense of St. Teresa’s anguished descriptions of her holy encounters with the help of a PowerPoint presentation. Simultaneously, a blind Saint haunts the space, manifesting ritual motions and sacred gesture in a desperate search for relief from the tormented aftermath of her own transverberation. The performance climbs to a disturbed climax/cacophony/collision—via the distorted soundscape (compiled from found sounds), sparse and cold blue lighting, fictionalized poetic writings of Teresa, and the Saint’s troubled gestures—while attempting to address questions such as the following:
We examine the ways in which erotic, spiritual ecstasy seems to inexplicably allow the desirous subject to enter a space beyond narrow reality while simultaneously flooding the landscape with the sacred, volatile element of their LIBIDO (bloody, disgusting, holy, smelly, queer, sexy, obsessive, etc. etc.). With that in mind, the project asserts that Desire and Autoerotic Ecstasy (embodied by the blind Saint) are sites of radical power that harbor sacred and holy potentialities; it aims to explore and finally MANIFEST the sweetest relief of this ecstatic DISSOLVE, consequently DISRUPTING the space with a SURGE of the “unlimited,” volatile, often suppressed, and revolutionary energy of DESIRE (Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus). “re. TRANSVERBERATION” insists upon saying aloud the things we have been told to keep silent and taking up space in ways we have been shamed out of—through a queer lens, it ultimately tries to generate both a future of radiant possibility and a more tenable present.