Passivity Rules / Memories of Being Hanged

Passivity Rules / Memories of Being Hanged is a performance based on movement and speech, premiering at Skogen November 20-22 2020. Due to covid the performance was also made into the form of a movie.

Passivity Rules / Memories of Being Hanged builds on experiences of being tied, especially in the context of rope bondage. The piece is a spin-off of the performance Someone You Trust (from 2018).

Passivity rules are systems where passivity facilitates something, opens up something. It is also an interjection, putting passivity first: Passivity rules! Memories of being hanged stands for experiences of losing control over one’s passivity, being close to dying or disappearing, concretely or metaphorically. Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged is about what is going on in a body that seems to sink, let go, lose its grip – or actually does.

Here, passivity is related to femininity. Our entry point to that is feminist. It’s not that we want to demonstrate that Women Can Do It (be active). Rather, we want to examine passivity as a lived experience, demanding competences and having consequences.

Documentation and rehearsal photos by Katerina Lukoshkova:

Concept and performance: Tova Gerge & Britta Kiessling

Sound: Elize Arvefjord

Visual form: Ekaterina Lukoshkova

Third eye: Caroline Byström

Coproduction: Nyxxx and Skogen

With the financial support of The Swedish Arts Grant Committee and The Swedish Arts Council.

Thanks to Weld Company and MDT Stockholm.

Program text: One Act Out of Two Possible

For Passivity Rules / Memories of Being Hanged, me and Tova Gerge wrote a program text in Swedish and English (our translation). It’s a dialogue between the two roles in this piece: passive and active. It’s also a kind of poetic dealing of these roles in a social, subcultural and personal sense. Here it is, as pdf:


In connection to the screening of the performance Passivity Rules / Memories of Being Hanged, me and Tova Gerge hosted a conversation series on passivity. Our home made TV show, or our live podcast, with three brilliant guests:

Marika Leïla aka Gorgone

PassiviTV the 20th of November was about being tied and tying in the context of rope bondage: what these roles and their respective skill sets can mean, on a metaphorical as well as aesthetic level. Marika Leïla Roux aka Gorgone has many years of exploration and experimentation with the traditional techniques and emotions of Japanese Rope Bondage (Shibari/Kinbaku). Since discovering ropes in 2011, she has been a professional shibari model and rigger, teaching and performing worldwide. She emphasizes the artistic, metaphorical and sensual nuances of this practice. One example is her durational project Study on Falling, exploring the relation between the body and gravity in ropes. She is also the founder of the online tutorials platform Shibari Study. 

Hamish MacPherson

PassiviTV the 21 of November was about kink and choreography, politics and passivity. Hamish MacPherson is an artist-researcher in the crossovers between choreography and philosophy. He is busy with the dark and complicated aspects of care, pleasure, passivity and power. Lately, he has been working with the zine STILL LIFE, which is about relationships and configurations in which one person is still while others are not. Or where one person is passive and others are active. Or about the different kinds of knowledge that people have about their own and other people’s bodies. And the philosophical and political understandings woven into that knowledge.

Eli Levén

PassiviTV den 22 november handlade om queera helgon, makten, maktlösheten och litteraturen som kraftfull betraktare. Eli Levéns båda romaner “Du är rötterna som sover vid mina fötter och håller jorden på plats” (2010) och “Hur jag skulle vilja försvinna” (2020) berör skymningslanden mellan begär och utplåning, upprättelse och förnedring. Med språket som hållande och lyssnande kraft låter Levén ofta sina karaktärer vistas i olika gränstillstånd som också berör det passiva: i sexualiteten, i livets flöden, i närheten till döden och andlighet. Levéns första bok gav upphov till två filmer: guldbaggebelönade Nånting måste gå sönder (2014) och dokumentären Pojktanten (2012).

Weld Company + Tova Gerge & Britta Kiessling: Passivity Rules/Memories of Being Hanged

Foto: Katerina Lukoshkova

In November 2019, we were invited to work choreographically with Weld Company and seven of it members for one week. This also became our starting point for working physically with the material, also in other bodies than our own. It was a pleasure getting to work with such a wise and brilliant group ❤

The week resulted in a public showing at Weld.

With members of the Weld Company: Caroline Byström, Majula Drammeh, Robert Malmborg, Rannhvi Mebius Jormin (intern), Per Sacklén, Kajsa Sandström and Max Wallmeier.

Someone You Trust

Photo: Katerina Lukoshkova

Someone You Trust uses the practice of rope bondage to explore time, trust and consent. The performance is divided in two acts: a participatory act and a watching act. In the piece, we follow instructions letting one body tie the other, dealing with development paths of practical knowledge and bodily discipline.

In 2018, I was generously invited by Tova Gerge to work with her on this piece that already had an extensive history of research; to perform, to write and to think dramaturgically.

Though we tie improvised patterns for this piece, we have studied with many teachers to be able to do what we do. Thus, a special thanks to Bergborg, Dasniya Sommer, Naka Akira, Hourai Kasumi, Kanna & Kagura, Gorgone, Pilar Aldea, Gestalta, Hedwig and others, not least the ones who tied us or got tied by us.

Text: Tova Gerge and Britta Kiessling
Performers: Tova Gerge and Britta Kiessling
Text eye and rope research: Christian Nilsson
Sound: Elize Arvefjord
Light, room, costume and mask: Josefina Björk
Artistic support: Gabriel Widing och Ebba Petrén

With the support of:
Japanstiftelsen, Längmanska kulturfonden, The Swedish Art’s Grant Committee, Cirkör LAB, and Stockholm County Council.

Photo and film documentation by Katerina Lukoshkova: