While sounds of dogs panting interfere with the soundtrack that is playing on the boat a searchlight is scanning the riverbank for its source. Suddenly a pack of dogs in light reflecting suits appears out of the bushes. Their luminous helmets glow in the twilight while they are roaming the riverside. For a short moment a futuristic world manifests itself. The dogs seem to come from another planet. The suits show neolithic dog presentations referring to that crucial time in history when humans start to settle down with their canine allies some 15’000 years ago. It’s not quite sure what their mission is. Are they here to invade the earth or are they visitors from the future wanting to learn more about their past?
Curtain made out of used sportswear and black velour on the rear side | metallic eyelets | steel tube and mounting construction | 330 x 590cm | 2022
Concept and realisation: Benjamin Egger | Sewing assistance: Iris Rohr | Finish: Polsterei Halbneu | Mounting construction: Benjamin Egger and Urech Metallbau
Sportswear is a specific clothing style in the queer community. The curtain, which is a gigantic patchwork made of used sportswear, refers to that history. Titled THE PACK, it also represents one queer community in particular: Pupplayer. Pupplayers are men who dress and behave as dogs while wearing dog-masks and color-matching sportswear. The sportswear is an important element of the Pupplayer‘s dog-identity, as it manifests the dog-character together with the matching mask. As a patchwork made of countless pieces of used sportswear, the curtain stands for a nongraspable number of Pupplayers entangled together. In that sense, it works like a fragmentation and recompositing of bodies, as in a carpet made of animal fur, for example. It also manifests a soft wall in the space. This protective and permeable wall stands for the pack, the community as a space-building institution in which queerness can be lived in.
SCREW IT. I'M GONNA START MY OWN PLANET
Concept: Benjamin Egger | With: Novak, Samuel, Fabio, Carl, Tenzin, Soha, Elisabeth, Emilia, Danika, Elea, Elis, Janelle, Kimey, Linus, Luca, Melik, Neva, Nicolas, Viola, Tosca, Ariel, Emilia, Erjon, Flurina, Jonas, Lara, Lenn, Loïc, Mai, Malin, Marwin, Konstantin Alea, Anik, Bjordi. Emiliano, Eyla, Jon, Nick, Nina, Paul, Ramazan, Sadie, Tashi | Project management: Tasnim Baghdadi, Cynthia Gavranic | Coordination: Silvia HIldebrand, Marcel Hörler | Teachers: Sabine Duarte, Christian Strupler | Documentation: Raphael Stucky
If things continue as they are, it doesn‘t look so good for quite a few species that will soon lose their habitat due to the climate collapse. Including humans, of course. A group of children from the Schütze school in Zurich has decided to prepare for this. On a newly founded planet, they create a new ecosystem and new creatures under new living conditions. They are inspired by the animal world, endemic species, dinosaurs, and speculative biology. They sketch and perform newly invented species and build models for the prototype of the new planet, at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst.
Start sniffing. Go on all fours. Follow a smell. Don’t talk. Growl when you cross someone’s way. Explore the smell.
Instruction for a fortune cookie, Making a scene, Kunsthal Gent, 2021
THE DOG IN ME
Lecture-Performance | 45‘ 00" | 2021
Text and concept: Benjamin Egger | With: David Attenberger | Costume design: Benjamin Egger, Fantastic Rubber & Florian Germann | Cat-pole: Benjamin Egger and Ortreport | Dramaturgical advice: Teresa Vittucci
Why can’t humans just be animals? In his performance Benjamin Egger is letting a queer fetish-cat lecture the audience. The sassy and ambiguous character embodied by David Attenberger dares the listener to abandon their faith in human exceptionalism. Inspired by theorists of animal ethics, animal studies and queer feminism the cat is taking the audience on a journey to conquer the status quo. While constantly returning to the example of the dog, the cat’s speech is dismantling the dogs as allies of humankind. At the same time it acknowledges them as beings that evolved through their cooperation with these most widespread and destructive mammals. Is it still reasonable to talk about dogs as non-human animals? Or should we not rather call them human animals? And then what?
AND THEN WE TOUCH
Video, Colour | Dolby 5.1 | DCP | 13‘ 30" | 2021
Written and directed: Benjamin Egger | Pupplayers: Aslan & Noah | Cinematography: Andi Widmer | Sound recording and mix: Reto Stamm | Post production: Silvio Gerber | Off-Voice: Darcy Alexandra | Poem: Benjamin Egger | Title Design: Marlon Ilg
A shimmering space opens up when the human is touching the non-human. AND THEN WE TOUCH raises our awareness of the performative nature of categories such as humanity and animality and confronts us with our own needs for sensuality, touch and playfulness as human animals. The viewer becomes part of an intimate scene between two pupplayers in a living room. The close-up cinematography shows the soft touches and playful actions of two men dressed as dogs. In this cinematic essay a post-human identity performed through bodily gestures and grunts is manifested. Becoming animal does not amount to a return to a so-called state of nature; on the contrary, it is a hybrid process, deeply “impure”, in which bodies and artifacts merge.
My hand is touching your fur
Your teeth penetrate my skin
All this togetherness on earth
All these billions of interactions
There are waves, concentric circles
And amongst our ancestors
To us, Dears Magazine for tranversal writing practices, Issue 1, 2020