What's On

21 pornographies

Mette Ingvartsen

Presented in RISING 2022

Presented by Arts House and RISING

Wed 1 – Sat 4 Jun, 2022
Wed – Fri, 9pm
Sat, 5.30pm

Post-show Q&A with Mette Ingvartsen —
Sat 4 June, 6.50pm (approximate start)

Open discussion with 21 Pornographies‘ Mette Ingvartsen on the research, development and context of the work. Led by acclaimed choreographer and RISING board member Amrita Hepi (Bundjulung/Ngapuhi).


General Admission $50
Concession $45
A small transaction fee will be charged per order.

Restricted to audiences 18+
This performance contains nudity, child abuse references, simulated sexual acts, urination, smoke/haze, loud noises and strobe lighting.

Meat Market
3 Blackwood St
North Melbourne

Read our COVID-19 Safety Plan here.

Assistance Animal
Companion Card
Quiet Space Available
Wheelchair Accessible

Domination, submission and observation. A one-woman power play confronting pornography’s pervasive creep.

Pornography is a pervasive beast. Obviously there’s untold hours of filmed sex online, but more insidious incarnations too, from eroticised advertisements for household staples to sexually-degrading wartime torture.

In 21 pornographies, Danish choreographer Mette Ingvartsen embarks on a no-holds-barred, one­ woman exploration of power, submission and observation. Often bearing little connection to explicit sex, Ingvartsen’s performance evokes the clinical precision, violence and cruelty of pornography-as well as its thrill, titillation and banal humour.

On a stark, LED-lit set, Ingvartsen wields her physicality in choreographed vignettes, interspersed with bracing monologues on the nature of the pornographic. 21 pornographies is a visceral experience for both performer and audience.



Artist Statement

Writing a novel about libertinage from his prison cell in 1785, Marquis de Sade declared that the nature of human passions authorizes crime. This moment in Western modernity marks the moral ambivalence in the bind between sexual liberation and power. While the legalization of pornography in Denmark in 1967 expanded the erotic freedom towards more gender equality, pornography today includes a politically wide range of expressions and uses, from queer and feminist stances to sexualized torture in war. The key to the affective power of pornography lies perhaps in the very root of the word: pernanai (Greek) = “to sell.” It explains how the pornographic “money-shot” operates in the climactic effects of “breaking news,” in the explosivity of action scenes or in brutality of authentic war porn.

Starting from the idea that pornography has leaked into many areas of society, Mette Ingvartsen explores the operations of the pornographic through a collection of erotic and affective materials. Most of them have little to do with explicit sex, yet they show some characteristics of the pornographic: expressions of cruelty, clinical precision, violence and pain, but sometimes also of laughter, excitement and thrill. By mixing physical action with narrative descriptions, a speculative choreography is created. The experiences that the viewer might undergo in this performance extend from imaginary to intense visceral sensations.

- Mette Ingvartsen


Concept, Choreography and Performance: Mette Ingvartsen
Lighting design: Minna Tiikkainen
Sound design: Peter Lenaerts
Set: Mette Ingvartsen & Minna Tiikkainen
Dramaturgy: Bojana Cvejic
Technical Director: Hans Meijer
Assistant choreography: Dolores Hulan
Assistants production: Manon Haase & Elisabeth Hirner
Sound technician: Filip Vilhelmsson

A production of Great Investment

Co-production: Volksbühne (Berlin), PACT Zollverein (Essen), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Kunstencentrum BUDA (Kortrijk), Les Spectacles vivants-Centre Pompidou (Paris), Dansehallerne (Copenhagen), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Julidans (Amsterdam), CCN2- Centre choregraphique national de Grenoble

Supported by
Nanterre-Amandiers, Centre Dramatique National, Musee de la Danse/Centre Choregraphique National de Rennes et de Bretagne & Kustenwerkplaats Pianofabriek

Funded by The Flemish Authorities, The Flemish Community Commission (VGC) & The Danish Arts Council.

Image credit: Jens Sethzman

Image description: A woman kneels on a black stage wearing black pants and black boots with a black strap on their bicep. They have long brown hair tied up in a knot with a fringe and are shirtless. They are holding out their right arm as if they are yelling.

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