HINTERREITHNER, ROTRAUD KERN AND NILS OLGER'S "TREE ME TREE" AT TANZQUARTIER
By Satu Herrala
space surrounded by black curtains. Four TV-like screens on wheels with
abstract images of views through windows on them. Sounds of nature in the room.
Enter the audience.
"Tree me tree”, an
installation-performance by Lisa Hinterreithner, Rotraud Kern and Nils Olger
begins as a gallery situation in the studio of Tanzquartier Wien. The audience
walks around from one screen to another. The three artists start moving the TV
sets, and the members of the audience respond by repositioning themselves in
the space. Rotraud Kern, now wearing a wolf mask, continues to re-arrange the
sets until the audience is gathered on one side. Lisa Hinterreithner appears on
the screens - Little Red Riding Hood walks into the forest.
of the space The wolf opens the curtain slightly to reveal
another space: the stairs. The studio has become a landscape. She invites us
for a walk uphill onto the tribune. The wandering audience turns into the
sitting and waiting audience with a closed curtain between us. The space we
left behind now has become a stage.
the gaze The curtain opens and the narration continues on
the screens. The two women appear in the film, one dressed in a red hood and
the other in a maid's costume. Those figures appear on stage too, as kind of
assistants, triggering images and sounds, presenting and organizing the
screens. The stage becomes an editing table, the excerpts of the film being
laid in front of us to form a kind of quasi-narrative. Red Hood finds a caravan
in the forest with a mysterious maid inside it. The camera looks into the
caravan and out through its windows. There is a voyeuristic tension in the gaze
of the viewer. The camera peeps from both sides of the glass, sometimes between
the curtains, taking turns to observe the inhabitant inside and the intruder
outside. But who is the voyeur here in the theatre? The screens face the
audience like lights in the dark, or like glowing eyes, staring at us. The
performers, who are invisible to our eyes, move the screens into lines and rows
and patterns that appear out of the darkness, controlling our gaze. The sounds
accompanying the images are suggestive, ominous. The window of the caravan is
being painted red from inside.
forests I was in my early teens when Twin Peaks came
out. It was perhaps the most popular TV series of our generation. If a dark
forest was not scary before David Lynch created those legendary 30 episodes
then afterwards it certainly was. High school queen Laura Palmer is found dead
on the riverbank by the woods. FBI agent Dale Cooper is sent to investigate the
case and he discovers the secrets of this small borderland town and the secrets
of the collective psyche. In Twin Peaks the forest is a place where the
characters are possessed by madness, violence and evil spirits. In the fairy
tale Little Red Riding Hood, particularly in the moralistic versions of
Perrault and the brothers Grimm, the forest is a dangerous place where you
should never talk to strangers and always follow the right path. There are many
other versions of this old folklore, and most of them emphasize its rich sexual
symbolism. For instance, the red hood has been seen as a symbol for the menstruation
cycle and entering puberty, and the forest as womanhood ahead. Over the years
the tale has been retold to suit the current social and sexual conventions,
from the promiscuous courts of Louis XIV past
Victorian moralists, through Freudian analysis to the critical feminist and
queer discourse of our times. However, "Tree
me tree” does not seem to put emphasis on the symbolism around the red
hood and the wolf. The sexual connotations go unnoticed or untouched here.
Rather the piece focuses on deconstructing and reconstructing the temporal and
spatial coordinates of the film through live interventions as well as guiding
the viewer‘s gaze through various landscapes, viewpoints and locations.
beginning When the curtain closes again and we return to
the space behind it, we find the stage and the performers gone and the gallery
situation with the four screens back in the studio. We discover the final scene
that seems like the beginning of the whole work: the ruins of the abandoned
caravan found in the forest. There is no mystery or fantasy left but the
documentation of an individual tragedy, or what is left of it in the woods. The
wind blows through this lonely forgotten space which emanates isolation and
"The huntsman and the grandmother and Red Riding Hood
sat down by his corpse and had a meal of wine and cake.
Those two remembering
nothing naked and brutal
from that little death,
that little birth,
from their going down,
and their lifting up."
Anne Sexton: Red Riding Hood