Performa09 / Columbia University - octobre 2009

développé en résidence au Watermill Center

The Arts Arena / Door Studio paris - mai 2010



création │ Charles Chemin et Carlos Soto


installation │ Christian Wassmann


avec │Nicolas Cartier, Jennifer Dees, Clara Galante, Elke Luyten, Joshua Seidner, Alice Stern, Anne-Laure Tondu, Mai Ueda


music │ Tristan Bechet

lumières │ Eugene Tsai, Xavier Baron

assistans │ Elena Gui, Frédéric Lorain

assistants décor │ Manasi Pandey, Tien Ling, Jeanne Chemin


production │ Luisa Gui



avec le soutien généreux des donateurs

Nancy & Fred Poses, Sonia Raiziss Giop Foundation, Andrefo de Palchi, Marella Caracciolo & Sandro Chia, Amy & Ronald Guttman, Naomi & Irving Benson, Solange Fabiao & Steven Holl, Annie Ohayon, Meredith Palmer and Eric Schau



 GIRLMACHINE is an investigation of Futurism's ambiguous vitality and its complex relationship to the modern body, exploring notions of masculine identity and mechanized erotics in the form of a Futurist club of men, women, and objects created by a collective of artists from art, theatre, architecture, and music. With extracts by J.G. Ballard, Umberto Boccioni, Kenward Elmsley, F.T. Marinetti, Valentine de Saint-Point. 

"We weren't particularly interested in historical references in performance. We were more interested in dealing with the very ambivalent Futurist approach to women—on the one hand they fear and loathe them, on the other they ’re secretly enraptured and entrapped by the feminine. The whole thing started for us with a short fragment of a text entitled Comme si nutriva l’Ardito (How the Shock Trooper Nourished Himself ), where a young soldier proposes that one sever a woman’s legs and torso, devour them, and keep her cunt in one’s backpack. Woman is reduced to a pure object, a pleasure-tool. He removes all obstacles, devours everything that is weak and sentimental—that is, everything “feminine”—so that he may trap these sensations within himself, thereby reducing the need for women to the basic mechanics of sex. There’s a recurring theme of the body as a vessel, a vehicle, armoured, impenetrable (from both directions)."

Charles Chemin & Carlos Soto


"Performance directors Carlos Soto and Charles Chemin took the Futurist ambivalence toward women as their subject in GIRLMACHINE, an evening-length performance held in the Teatro of the Italian Academy at Columbia University that kicked off the two-day conference Beyond Futurism: F.T. Marinetti, Writer. In the words of Soto and Chemin, the Futurists “feared and loathed” women, “reducing them to a pure object, a pleasure tool”—but were also “secretly enraptured and entrapped by the feminine.” In GIRLMACHINE, a text compiled from diverse sources—including writings by Marinetti, French playwright and filmmaker Sascha Guitry, and New Wave science fiction author J.G. Ballard—formed the basis for a gradually unfolding series of tableaux. Eight black-clad performs moved through the space, exacting slow, sometimes mechanical, sexually-charged choreography beneath monumental silver mylar inflatables, special designed by architect Christian Wassmann to transform the neo-Renaissance-style Teatro with their moving, reflective shapes. The ongoing scripted dialogue mixed Marinetti’s odes to violence with Ballard’s techno-erotics, hinting at a series of lovers’ quarrels and the fragmentation that results. In this associative journey through poetry, novels, manifestos, obsessions, and stereotypes, GIRLMACHINE revealed the many layers of Futurists’ conception of gender identity and its relation to contemporary ideas."

RoseLee Goldberg’s catalogue, Performa 09: Back to Futurism (2011)

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