Ich tauche auf / visual poem No 2

Visual poem by Laura Koerfer    Music by James Varghese

Red or white wine?

Cat or dog?

Sweet or salty?

Favorite movie?
I can`t decide if its Romeo & Juliette with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes or all movies by Xavier Dolan.

Why make a visual poem on shame?
Shame is a powerful world, somehow it works from underneath. And I learned that shame is peculiar: If you look at it long enough, it disappears!

So, you make art about shame to make it disappear?
If you start to understand the construction of a feeling, you also get the tools and freedom to reconstruct something else. But I am interested in the texture of shame, the atmosphere. I want to know what shame looks like. And I am generally interested in all matter that creates movement within the body and mind. Shame for instance paralyses, it freezes the muscles and the limbs. When we are deeply ashamed, we can barely move. What is that supposed to be about? And why do our bodies heat up and we start blushing when ashamed? Isn’t it strange that by blushing we show everyone that we are deeply ashamed, even though at the very same moment we would like to physically disappear and sink into a deep hole?

Do you want to educate the audience about shame?
My goal is rather to create a space where thoughts about shame can be explored. I want to collectively meditate about shame.

How do you use language?
There is a certain quiet quality to shame. I decided to have no direct speech in this piece, so I reduced the text to a few core terms. Joy interrupted is one core term that stuck with me. It’s about that moment when someone is having a joyous experience and then is hit by shame. These moments can stay with us forever.

Does shame need a spectator?
Shame is a feeling that exists in relation to others. So yes, we need the others’ gaze. But imagining a spectator is already enough for shame to operate. We can blush on our own imagination of someone seeing us and judging us.

Does our society need more or less shame?
I just know that it’s powerful to know what you are ashamed of and what not and who has an interest of keeping you ashamed. And I wonder: What if behind or beyond the enormous aggressions we see today in many parts of the world lays shame? It seems to me that shame and shamelessness go hand in hand.

And what about the title?
“Ich tauche auf” is a song by Tocotronic and my all-time favorite singer Anja Plaschg (Soap&Skin). For me there is always a song at the center of my pieces that pumps blood into the work like a heart.