Merrill Nisker – Interview

Peaches: „To be quite honest, a lot of my ideas evolve around the vagina and my intersectional feminist perspective“

In August, Peaches is all over Hamburg. Not only that the Berlin and LA based musician and artist will present her brand new futuristic theater play „There´s only one peach with the hole in the middle“ at Kampnagel, she also brings her Vaudeville play „Shaboom!“ to stage, hosts four club nights and last but not least she implements her first institutional art show: „Whose Jizz Is This?“ at Kunstverein in Hamburg.
With „ Whose Jizz Is This?“ Peaches challenges the classic set up of an exhibition house by arranging an living organism.

Peaches, you did so many things in your artistic career: records, performances, concerts, theatre plays – and now finally your first exhibition. How much of a challenge was this to you? And how is the act of arranging an exhibition connected to all those other artistic outlets?
I believe all artistic mediums are related because in the end it all becomes a larger development of ones artistic practice. That said, in the beginning of „Whose Jizz Is This?“ there was the concept to work with my collected archive of 20 years full of costumes, videos, photographs, digital and analog clippings and 8000 hours of footage, capturing live shows, backstage action and experimental ideas. So, in the beginning this was an archival show – but then I asked myself: „Why should I make that myself?“ It felt crazy, as if I write my own biography.
So I thought of deconstructing my archive… but then again: it did not make sense to deconstruct my own work, work I already did in the past and express it in a different way. I expressed all this already, on albums, in videos, during my shows. Why rehash and fit in old stuff? By that I realized, I was interested in new work.

Can you describe those new works?
To be quite honest, a lot of my ideas evolve around the vagina and my intersectional feminist perspective. I am a very theatrical person, and I am humoristic person – but I am serious in my message. It is the idea for „Whose Jizz Is This?“ to use the body in a way that is performance without performers.
Last year I did a project in Berlin together with n.b.k. (Neuer Berliner Kunstverein) where I reflected on the question of how interesting is my work if there is no music and I am not there in the performances. I had other performers doing my typical movements on on deconstrcuted stages, slow and repetitive; and someone else was reading my lyrics.

Now I am taking this one step further and do not even use any performers. I created a deconstructed opera with a 14 channel music programming which is connetced to the light installation. Each channel is a track, but not like a popsong, these are soundscapes. And each light is its own scultpure, a channel that relates to my work, creates an immersive inspiration, losely based to the narrative.

I am very much interested in the empowerment of the body. When I came along the double masturbators, on one side a vagina, one the other side a mouth, I got interested in the emancipation of these objects – they named themselfes Fleshies. You will see the emancipation through the interaction with the humans: first they interact with the humans and then they break away from them and find pleasure with themselves and disregard the humans.

There is a 7 on 9 meters Fleshie fountain within the installation. And there are animated movies that show their stories, their struggles. You could say: They create their own social platforms and by that find a way to come together.
All of this happens within the exhibition in two sections. The first one is darker and has more stops, more walls … you have to understand: the architecture is part of the sculpture too, based on the light elements and walls. The second half of the exhibition is more open as they come together. There is also a 2 meter by 2 meter cluster which brings them all together as they have no longer a form.
The Kunstverein in Hamburg is such an incredible huge space – 1o00 square meters. That gives me the opportunity to realize a grand narrative with large works.

The exhibition happens in the 20th year of your public career.
Did you expect to end up with such a long run in the beginning?
Or asked differently: how do your expectations back then and the path you walked correspondent to each other?
It hasn’t really changed. It just a development because time has brought experience challenges and self made opportunities. I always expanded with my art in other forms. Always. My music was never purist about recording and playing, there was always a theatrical element to it, it was always of importance to me to have a visual presence: videos, stage set-ups. I like to move on.
When I realized that I have no longer a record company and there are no longer those limited platforms to show your vision, like music television stations, it felt actually liberating. Take for an example the videos to my last album, those are some of the most creative and most hardcore ideas I ever came up with.
Coming from this, I did not want to just present video works in the exhibition, sculptures and installation can say so much about a performance by themselves. I am talking about the way the room performs through the music – which in this case is more likely soundscapes and not pop songs, on the other hand, it may have from time to time popsong format – and the lightening that is connected to the sound, reacts on the sound.

Would you consider yourself in general a person who makes decisions fast and without doubts?

Sometimes it comes fast and you know it’s right for you and sometimes it’s extremely tortuous. Once I found my narrative of the double masturbators, the ideas came from there – everyone knows that feeling of finding the spot to unlock everything that is behind.

Did you reflect a lot about what it means to write history during the process of arranging „Whose Jizz Is This“?
I created a new narrative and new forms but ultimately it’s all part of the same history.

What can you say about the durational performance of Federica Dauri, which will open your exhibtion?
This will be a one off event for the opening – but the object used during the durational will stay in the exhibition: a silican body that takes over a human. It connects to the live show which will happen a week later.

Peaches, you curated four club nights alongside the art show and theater performances featuring Little Annie & Paul Wallfisch (14.8.), Faka / Ziur (15.8.), Planningtorock / FRZNTE (16.8.) and Kick Ass Queereeoke feat. Christeene (17.8.). Do those artists share a specific narrative for you?
Yes – one that makes sense to me.

During the period of time your career spans the sociopolitical climate changed quite a lot – on one side to the better (gender and queerness representation…) but also to the negative (more and more verbote, more and more anachronistic, regressive politicians….).
What is your view on the world in motion today?
It all grows exponentially in all directions. Do not be fooled, there are many paths and many opinions and although I would love to believe we are all queer and open and comfortable with people being who they need to be this is just not a reality yet but I will keep on my path.

Last question: Whose Jizz is this not?
Ha, that would be the ultimate inclusive way of answering the question and better to say, Whose Jizz isn’t this.

Peaches, thanks for your time. Like always, a pleasure to talk to you.

Peaches, „Whose Jizz Is This”, Kunstverein in Hamburg

9.8.2019, Eröffnung ab 19 Uhr
In cooperation with the Internationales Sommerfestival at Kampnagel.

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