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Thursday Scratch Nights

Performance and Sound Art: Pleasure Paradox

Fabienne Audeoud, playing the piano, ongoing performance

Fabienne Audeoud, playing the piano, ongoing performance

John Costi, Johnny Gets Beaten Up, video and live performance (2013)

John Costi, Johnny Gets Beaten Up, video and live performance (2013)

Janek Schaefer, Detail from Flyer design for Unlucky Dip Disco (2013) 

Janek Schaefer, Detail from Flyer design for Unlucky Dip Disco (2013) 

Jen Liu, Safety First (Bad, Don

Jen Liu, Safety First (Bad, Don't Touch, Mercy!), video, 12 mins (2013)

Nick Kilby & Trans/Human, Disposal, live performance at Connect The Dots, Sheffield (2013)

Nick Kilby & Trans/Human, Disposal, live performance at Connect The Dots, Sheffield (2013)

Fabienne Audeoud, playing the piano, ongoing performance
John Costi, Johnny Gets Beaten Up, video and live performance (2013)
Janek Schaefer, Detail from Flyer design for Unlucky Dip Disco (2013) 
Jen Liu, Safety First (Bad, Don
Nick Kilby & Trans/Human, Disposal, live performance at Connect The Dots, Sheffield (2013)

Fabienne Audeoud, playing the piano, ongoing performance

Performance and Sound Art:  Pleasure Paradox

Featuring Fabienne Audéoud, John Costi, Nick Kilby & Trans/Human, Jen Liu and Janek Schaefer

Curated by Christina Millare


Thursday 31 October / 6pm - 11pm / Free



Through moving image, performance, sound and participation, Pleasure Paradox will turn MK Gallery into an immersive environment that explores the relationship between fearful and pleasurable experiences. Drawing on the horror film presented within the controlled setting of a cinema, this event uncovers an artist and spectator’s response to fictionalised terror within the composed setting of an art gallery and seeks to expose the association between pleasure and fear that can produce contradictory reactions to trauma.  


Works developed for and presented at Pleasure Paradox explore perceptions linked to controlled disturbances and horrific stimuli that focus on a body’s reaction to physical trauma, the impact of socio-political and industrial distress on social structures and the polar responses that occur when farce and tragedy converge.


Deliberately timed to coincide with Halloween, a day in which the deceased, supernatural and other worldly are paradoxically celebrated and feared, Pleasure Paradox aims to pull apart the inconsistent and conflicting responses to fictionalised terror.


Fabienne Audéoud’s Sales on Luxury Shoes is a series of unique 5- 10 minute vocal performances set against the backdrop of Audéoud’s paintings of luxury footwear. The performance explores notions of desire, pain and mourning by unpacking the concept of value within climates of socio-political violence.


Johnny Gets Beaten Up is a moving image, performance and participation project in which John Costi reflects on his old alias and alter ego, ‘Oreo’. In 2012 Costi was viciously assaulted in North London in a reprisal attack upon his past alias. The film, which Costi began making the morning after the assault, features interviews with his Mother and Father, footage from the hospital and personal diary entries that chart his recovery. A looped screening of the film will coincide with a live performance in which Costi will invite audience members to feel the metal plates that were placed in his face after the attack. 


Zanoni [thee lived strings] is developed by the ongoing collaboration of Adam Denton, Luke Twyman and Nick Kilby and is a trans-humanist adaptation of a single part of the epic Rosicrucian novel, Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (published 1842). The work adapts the fictional theory set forth in the book; that ruptures within reality and the fourth dimension can be summoned forth when the exact configuration of detuned strings on a fiddle are played in the correct order. The work seeks to study the phenomenology of sonics, and how the relationship of the body and sound can be pushed forward into new and alchemical territories.

In Blue Collar Workforce for the Hungry Ghosts Jen Liu unveils a unique re-boot of Buddhist folk ancestor worship. According to tradition, a person in heaven, like here on earth, has needs. People burn fake paper money that travels through smoke to their ancestors so they can buy basics such as houses and clothes. Miniature versions of luxuries such as sports cars, smart phones, and yachts are also burned in the hope that their ancestors can live the good (after)life.  Liu’s project appeals to the entrepreneurial ghost who has the capital and motivation to go into production: why depend on imports from the living world, when goods can be made domestically, in the ghost plane?


Every hour Liu will burn bundles of life sized paper figures in Campbell Park (adjacent to MK Gallery), releasing them into the afterlife to form a workforce for the Hungry Ghosts.  This project questions the importance of consumption in heaven, while exploring the psycho-cultural dynamics of contemporary industrial production.  It will be accompanied by a loop-screening of Liu’s new film, Safety First, in which a factory labourer works in split screen, one “good” and the other “bad”, showing us the correct way to do things in a hoped-for brave new (re-industrialised) world.

In Unlucky Dip Disco Janek Schaefer aims to present the Best Bad Party ever. The top 100 worst singles are played on endless loop with the audience acting as DJ by randomly skipping from one disaster disc to the next. The installation features a fully working bar, and the outcome may be shockingly like a party in purgatory. You have been warned. Dress accordingly.



Artist Biographies

Fabienne Audéoud is an artist based in Paris. She has presented her solo and collaborative work (in particular with John Russell),  videos, performances and paintings within varied contexts including independent spaces, major museums and art centers such as Tate Modern, ICA, South London Gallery, Ikon Gallery, Modern Art Oxford, Art Projects (Dublin), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre, Bergen’s Kunstvererig; Basis voor Actuele Kunst (Utrecht), Maccarone Gallery, White Columns and Sotheby’s (New York); Friburg Kunsthalle, (Switzerland), Kunsthaus Graz (Autriche), Serralves Foundation (Porto), La Villa Arson (Nice), Le Confort Moderne (Poitiers) and Le Petit Palais (Paris).


Her work evolves around the notions of the performative within music and language as well as in visual art. She is currently developing the exhibition/performance, The biggest painting show ever.

John Costi
, based in London, is a recent Fine Art Graduate from Central Saint Martins, working within performance and moving image. Costi’s degree show performance, De-Assembly considered the relationship between humans and inanimate objects. Appropriating a series of non-sensical found objects, Costi’s performance explored how we create tangible memories that reveal themselves through assembly, ‘de-assembly’ and story-telling.  Recent exhibitions include, Cally Calls, Air, London, Secret 7”, Mother, London, Short Back ‘N’ Sides, Blackall Studios, London.

Adam Denton
and Luke Twyman have been collaborating under the name Trans/Human since 2011. Employing several noise making devices and techniques in their performances, including mobile phones, radio, cassette tape, prepared electric guitar, processed drums, strobe lighting, contact microphones, field recordings and feedback systems, Trans/Human’s concerns lie within the physical act of music making and its relationship to environment and audience. Working in collaboration with New Aktionists Nick Kilby and Kris Kanavan, Trans/Human have developed their performances to accommodate various objects utilised by the performer in each Aktion through amplification using contact mics. These sounds are processed and used in the improvised composition; bringing together performance and sound art in an innovative and engaging way. Trans/Human have toured France extensively in 2012 and were present at this year’s Shiny Toys festival in Mulheim. Their latest research and development project, AMRL saw them engaging with dead FM bands in the Northern reaches of Scotland in a solar powered camper van, the resulting noize jams taking place across CB radio platforms with the wilderness of the highlands and men in sheds as their witness.


Nick Kilby has been practicing body performance since 2009, after graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with a first class honours in Contemporary Performance Practice. Kilby's initial work investigated the political contradictions of the sculpted body in a state of violence, through a series of performances carried out at venues and festivals across the UK and internationally; including the Fresh AiR Festival, Brixton's Brick Box programme and Mulheim's Shiny Toys Festival. Aside from the ongoing relationship with Adam Denton and Luke Twyman, Kilby has collaborated with several artists through a variety of mediums including sound design, text and through consultation on piercing and other body modification practice. Kilby is currently undertaking a postgraduate research project investigating the histories, methodologies and history of the ecstatic community at Leicester De Montfort University.


Jen Liu was born in Smithtown, New York, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn.  In her individual and collaborative practices she overlaps formal structures and histories, using fictional constructs to consolidate seemingly disparate aesthetics and issues. Video and paintings on paper, at the centre of her practice, are often joined by music, performance, installation, and sculpture.  Liu received a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.  She has exhibited internationally, with past exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien; Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam; On Stellar Rays, New York; Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; Kunsthaus Zurich; Ceri Hand Gallery, London; Royal Academy, London; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Czarna Gallery, Warsaw; and De Hallen Museum, Netherlands. Jen is also a tutor at Parsons The New School for Design and The City University of New York.


Janek Schaefer , an artist, musician and composer , was born in England in 1970 to Polish and Canadian parents. While studying architecture at the Royal College of Art, he created Recorded Delivery [1995] using a sound activated dictaphone travelling overnight through the Post Office. Since then the multiple aspects of sound have become his focus. The context of each idea is central to its development and resolution. He has performed, lectured and exhibited widely throughout Europe [Sonar, Tate Modern, Pompidou, CCCB], USA & Canada, [The Walker, XI, Mutek, Princeton], Japan, and Australia [Sydney Opera House].  Schaefer has released albums on Asphodel, Sub Rosa, Hot Air, Sirr, Rhiz, Kraak, Alluvial, DSP, Diskono, BiP_HOp, Cronica, LINE, Room40, Desire Path, Fat Cat, audiOh!, Staalplaat, and 12k, and has collaborated with Philip Jeck (Songs for Europe CD), Robert Hampson (Comae CD), Stephan Mathieu (Hidden Name CD), and Charlemagne Palestine (Day of the Demons LP).  In 2008 he won The British Composer of the Year Award in Sonic Art and the Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers Prize. The Bluecoat Gallery exhibited a Retrospective of his 20-year career in 2009. Janek’s exhibition Collecting Connections featured at the Agency Gallery, London in spring 2013. He is a Visiting Professor at the Sonic Art Research Unit, Oxford Brookes University, and works from the audiOh! Room in Walton-on-Thames, UK.



Pleasure Paradox is kindly supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts and MK Gallery

October 2013


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