Fermentation is a transformative process: it turns sugar into alcohol, and fresh vegetables into preserves. It tantalises the taste buds. For the Wiener Festwochen, the international acclaimed artists’ collective Slavs and Tatars is opening a Pickle Bar. In the early evening every Tuesday and Thursday this Slav version of an aperitivo bar serves pickled delicacies and fermented juices, and raises exceptional toasts (not the edible kind). In performances that change weekly, the invited artists Nora Turato, Selin Davasse, Veronika Merklein & Ela A. Sattler, Mai Ling and Onur Karaoğlu explore the unique ambience of this special setting. On Saturdays the adO/Aptive reading group gets together. For their research projects, Slavs and Tatars venture out into the territory east of the Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China, embracing a teasingly playful interaction with Eurasian languages, ideologies and belief systems. The Pickle Bar raises a glass (or two) to the close affinity between speaking and eating, all the while celebrating the principle of hospitality. So, three cheers for fermentation!
17 / 19 May, 7pm Nora Turato
Nora Turato is delighting the art world with her melodious spoken-word performances and typographical artworks. Her performance for the Pickle Bar launch revolves around the politics of accent in spoken language. Using Hollywood as an example and its long history of constructing identity stereotypes through crude casting processes and one-dimensional character portrayals, she illustrates how accents prove to be so revealing – and the performance artist herself is a case in point, her voice not just her medium but her currency, too. The way vowels and syllables are stressed is automatically a signifier of national identity. A virtuoso solo of exuberant text collages about visibility, representation, power relations, and attention economics in the entertainment industry.
24 / 26 May, 7pm Selin Davasse
In vino sapientia! [In wine there is wisdom!] Eloquent, poetic and parodistic, Selin Davasse and her solo performance delight Pickle Bar guests with the high art of toast-making. In Unlace my Syntax she slips into the role of the tamada, a rhetorically adept and hard-drinking master of ceremonies officiating at Georgian banqueting tables. But in lieu of the traditional ideals of country and family, Davasse’s tamada raises a glass to plurality and solidarity. In this breeches role, she recites stimulating rhymes about queer eros and ecstasy, saluting the sublimated homoeroticism inherent in the male tradition of celebratory boozing. Here queer pride replaces patriotic pathos.
31 May, 2 June, 7pm Veronika Merklein & Ela A. Sattler
Few acts of eating, if any, have had more serious consequences for humanity than that one bite of the forbidden fruit. Veronika Merklein and Ela A. Sattler’s performance Garden Eden is a queer fat version of the story of Adam and Eve and invites the audience to take part in an interlude about a toxic relationship between two narcissists and a seemingly never-ending story about consuming Eden’s apples. The Fall of Man is not just about the realisation that there is good and evil: it also brings with it a longing and a mourning for a paradise lost. Harmony and security – the ultimate disposition of the land of milk and honey in our uncertain world and age? Garden Eden does not come up with a solution nor does it find redemption; instead, the silent performance maintains the state of limbo, in a sensually sinister continuous loop.
7 / 9 June, 7pm Mai Ling
In their performance Mai Ling Kocht, the Viennese collective explores how Asian food has evolved through mobility and global migration, inviting the audience to take a closer look at its stickiness, histories and politics. By tending to our desires for comfort and pleasure, food transforms beyond mere sustenance into a medium that satiates what was lost through migration. With its performative interactions with food, Mai Ling’s convivial performance deconstructs oppressive stereotypes and racist structures and becomes a protest that goes through the stomach!
14 / 16 June, 7pm Onur Karaoğlu
Inspired by a song by Turkish poet Mahzuni Şerif, theatre maker Onur Karaoğlu draws on the epic Ashik song tradition in his performance In Vain to deplore the latest repercussions of the global climate catastrophe. The artist summons four different storytellers to narrate the disastrous marine mucilage of dead micro-organisms that covered the Sea of Marmara off Karaoğlu’s home city of Istanbul in 2021: an oceanographer from the Middle Ages, a sea that has long since disappeared, a poet from the last century, and a young, contemporary writer. The interactive performance poetically spans the ages, opening up new meaning in the face of crisis.
21 / 28 May, 4 / 11 June, 4.30pm - 8pm adO/Aptive Reading Group
Entirely in keeping with the idea of fermentation as a potent process of conversion, the Vienna-based adO/Aptive reading group will gather at the Pickle Bar for four sessions and offer to seriously stimulate the public’s taste buds as well as its brain cells. Under the motto terrA/Or [fe(a)r(ment)], the reading list comprises critical and speculative texts on identity, technology and belonging, including Sayak Valencia, Bernard Stiegler, Thomas Moynihan, Tiqqun, Sadie Plant and Heinz von Foerster among others. Fermenting ‘fear’ for a terra without terror!