The video is available in Englisch
The video contribution shows impressions of the experimental opera piece Tip the Ivy (2022) by the American non-binary composer and artist Colin Self (*1987 Aloha, USA). The piece was created in collaboration with Performance Space New York and premiered at HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark. Situated between performance, participation, research, and activism, Self always reacts to the local and social conditions of the places where his works are created. Tip the Ivy is thus not only a performative piece of theater, but also a research project that addresses the coding of information through a queer perspective.
At the heart of the project is an exploration of Polari, a slang language that was used by homosexuals in the United Kingdom mainly in the period between the 1930s and 1970s, who developed it as a coded form of communication in reaction to the threat of the criminalization of their sexuality. An important figure for this research and performance project is Werner Obermeyer, alias Vera de Vienne (b. in Graz). Self met Obermeyer during a residency in Graz and came to know the fascinating story of this travesty artist and gender illusionist. In young years Obermeyer debuted as a ballet student at the Graz Opera, and then gained stage experience in various establishments at Hamburg’s Reeperbahn. From the 1960s he traveled throughout Europe with his partner under the name of Mademoiselle X & Partner.
Tip the Ivy is a project that on the one hand emphasizes the positive power of queer communities on the basis of collaboration and shared work, and on the other hand enacts the bitter political realities of surveillance and censorship in the here and now in the form of an experimental opera. Self achieves this via a reinterpretation of the classical genre in which he sees voices and song as a collective force.
With Dia Dear, Bully Fae Collins, Colin Self, Mica Sigourney, Vera de Vienne, Geo Wyeth
Costumes by Ottolinger
Special thanks to Isabel Parkes
In 2021 Colin Self was artist-in-residence at HALLE FÜR KUNST. Tip the Ivy was initiated by HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark and co-commissioned by Performance Space, New York. The performance will be presented in May 2022 at Performance Space.
is a lecturer at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute in Berlin and has presented his work at the Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam; HAU Berlin; Neues Museum, Berlin; The Kitchen, New York; and Issue Project Room, New York; among many international festivals and venues. He is a Rhizome Commission Grant recipient and a Queer Art Mentorship Fellow. He is a co-founder of NYC queer performance collective Chez Deep and Radical Diva Grant. Self received his MFA in music and sound from Bard College, New York. Since 2015 Self works closely with Holly Herndon and has performed with her touring ensemble. He leads XOIR, an international non-utilitarian vocal workshop focused on alternative modalities of group singing, and releases solo music on the record label RVNG Int.