ADHD Penetration, 2018
with Ewa Dziarnowska, Maciej Sado, & Andrey Bogush
sound by KILBOURNE & rick h m [umami goddess™]
costume by Franziska Acksel
also with Elliott Cennetoglu
VIXIA camcorder, silicone dildo, Oakley sunglasses, hair extensions, bald cap, ViDi action cam, self color-changing egg

In ADHD Penetration, virtual selves step offscreen, emerging from the fog of a post-apocalyptic rave. Equipped with sunglasses to shield vision from darkness, two bodies carry devices of capture, namely: the dildo-phallus and the camcorder. Penetrating “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” as both a diagnosis and extrapolated condition of the 21st century elicits an act of coitus as well as a deconstruction of attention and velocity within the body. Offline and live-streaming to unseeable destinations, the work empathizes for the world’s new baby consumed by YouTube clip loops, inherited hyperactivity, and a “selfie”-identity surveilled between architectures of the profile, the club, and some doggystyle.

The performance was premiered as part of Dirty Debüt’s third edition, “Snickers,” at Sophiensæle. (Documentation images © Dorothea Tuch & Telémachos Alexiou [Sophiensæle], Paula Reissig [Performing Arts Festival Berlin], and Isabel Machado Rios [Fuchsbau Festival]; non-participatory documentation video © Diethild Meier.) Documentation of the work, accompanied by/with a performed reaction-video featuring Harald Stojan, was live-streamed during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of Borderless for Reconnect Festival.

ADHD Penetration is, as one would say on Twitter, a Big Mood. As post-whatever as it might be, it is to me first and foremost moving in all its irony and post-irony. As signaled by the title and by a whole set of stylistic choices, these affective layers though are so impressive not least because they are always connected within their cultural framework. As in the outside world, for example, it’s not at all subtle how there’s always a video camera involved in the actions on stage. What will happen with this footage, what other audience is this for? And the pills the performers are swallowing evoke both Skittles or Adderall and their respective industries – either way, a significant high. Rather than being about the psychiatric-industrial complex, though, ADHD Penetration is playing with its feelings. And is also played by them. Is this a shift, is it a critique, reflection, reproduction? At the risk of being too cool for school, ADHD Penetration mobilizes an ambivalence in not knowing yet.

Sianne Ngai, for whom cuteness is one of the aesthetic categories of the times we call our times, writes of it that it’s ‘not just an aestheticization but an eroticization of powerlessness, evoking tenderness for small things but also, sometimes, a desire to belittle or diminish them further.’ Eroticization of powerlessness in the face of how good it can feel – in the face of how bad it feels, too – is certainly a theme.”
— Maxi Wallenhorst