An original video work from the transdisciplinary performance artist, featuring a live performance from Nkisi.

Berlin-based performance artist Ariel Efraim Ashbel describes his 2018 performance as “a reflection on the entanglements of action, ethics and materiality”, with each concept corresponding to a section of its title, ‘Do’, ‘the Right’, ‘Thing’.

Initially drawing inspiration from the Bauhaus school, the performance incorporates a wide array of references, each exploring, in Ashbel’s words, “modern attitudes to thingness, rhythm, urgency, agency and emergency”, as well the historical humanist demand for the engagement with ethics in theatrical works.

This original video work is adapted from the second of the performance’s three acts, each of which correspond to a basic shape, the circle, the square and the triangle. This middle act features original music from LABOUR’s Hacklander \ Hatam and a live performance from Nkisi. This is a condensed section of a longer video work, which can be viewed here.

“I like to describe my work as ‘thinking inside the box'”, explains Ashbel, “uninterested in promises of utopia and observing the potentialities that characterize the enclosure, finding in its texture cracks and crevices that trigger critical moves and sensual articulations.”

“My collaborator Daphna Keenan and I decided to play with this idea of thinking in the box. In addition to performance footage, the piece includes some source material, rehearsal videos taken on our phones, and animations made by Joseph Wegmann, originally used as light design.”

“Both the title of this piece and the technique of sampling which is central to it, allude to practices mastered by black artists”, he continues. “To honor the heritage of ingenious black creation and labour without which there would be no Europe, I would like to recommend rewatching Spike Lee’s masterpiece Do the Right Thing.”

“It turned 30 last year, and is chillingly relevant, flawlessly made and is one of the most poignant works of political art in the 20th century. I encourage everyone to watch it and further learn about the ways in which all of our lives are informed by and entangled with senseless anti-black violence derivative of European racist ideologies.”

For more information about Ariel Efraim Ashbel and his work, you can visit his website and follow him on Instagram. For more information about Do the Right Thing, you can visit that project’s Tumblr.

Nkisi recently released BLK SPLLS, which the producer describes as “a collection of sonic spells I made between 2013-2016”. She will donate all of the proceeds to Black Lives Matter.

Do the Right Thing: Emergent Emergencies Credits:

Directions: Ariel Efraim Ashbel
Research and Concept: Romm Lewkowicz
By and with: Efrat Aviv, Jessica Gadani, Cassie Augusta Jørgensen, Tatiana Saphir
Music: Hacklander \ Hatam, Nkisi
Head of Visuals: Alona Rodeh
Lighting: Joseph Wegmann
Video Editor: Daphna Keenan
Outside Eye: Stefanie Wenner
Assistant director: Katharina Joy Book
Costume Assistance: Marcus Barros Cardoso
Assistance Set: Adam Goldstein
Press & Production: björn & björn
Stage Production by Ariel Efraim Ashbel and friends
Co-production: HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), FFT (Düsseldorf)
Funded by Fonds Bauhaus heute der Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

Video Production by Ariel Efraim Ashbel and friends, supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Watch next: Jenn Nkiru – Black to Techno

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