Susanne Sachsse © Eric Hackenschmidt | Vaginal Davis. Photograph by Lucius Barre © Vaginal Davis Susanne Sachsse © Eric Hackenschmidt | Vaginal Davis. Photograph by Lucius Barre © Vaginal Davis


Goethe-Institut New York

Susanne Sachsse © Eric Hackenschmidt | Vaginal Davis. Photograph by Lucius Barre © Vaginal Davis

In conversation with Berlin-based artist Vaginal Davis, directress and actress Susanne Sachsse talks about her experiences in queer film and performance and her East German background. Rethinking female agency on stage and screen, Sachsse presents her collaborations with stage directors such as Einar Schleef and Vegard Vinge, as well as queer performers, including Vaginal Davis, Ronald Tavel, and Bruce LaBruce.

The evening event at the Goethe-Institut takes place in conjunction with the performance of a radical reinterpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Sachsse and Davis in a unique collaboration with composer Jamie Stewart, lighting designer Jackie Shemesh, musicologist Roger Grant, filmmaker Michel Auder, and Jonathan Berger and Jesse Bransford from NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The acclaimed group of international artists will be in residence at the 80WSE Gallery throughout the fall.
The Magic Flute is an installation and critical transformation of Mozart’s celebrated 1791 musical drama. Reimagining and disordering the narrative of the opera, the installation amplifies the subversive alternatives to humanism already quietly suggested in Mozart’s music and Schikaneder’s libretto. Staging an interrogation of the fragile boundary between humanity and mechanization, it elaborates a set of inquiries begun in the eighteenth century about human life and its others. The Magic Flute will have free public performances December 1st to 5th at 80WSE. On December 6th and 7th, the performances will be closed to the public, allowing them to function as the subject of a film shoot directed by Michel Auder.

Presented in collaboration with 80WSE Gallery.

Susanne Sachsse is an actress and director. She was a member of the Berliner Ensemble where she worked with Heiner Müller, Einar Schleef, and Robert Wilson. In 2001, she co-founded the art collective CHEAP. She has worked in different performance, art, and film contexts with, among others, Bruce LaBruce, Yael Bartana, Phil Collins, Keren Cytter, Hannah Hurtzig, Katya Sander and Vegard Vinge. Sachsse's first video Serious Ladies premiered at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin in 2013 and has since been shown in galleries and at international film festivals. Currently, she is working on her first feature film, Original Sin.

Vaginal Davis is an international performance, visual and video artist. Since 2005 she has regularly led performance workshops at, amongst others, McGill University, the University of Manchester, and Harvard University. From 1985 to 2002 she taught artistic writing, performance, and experimental film at the University of California, the California Institute of the Arts, Otis College of Art and Design, Parsons School of Design and New York University. Her visual artwork was last exhibited in the group shows Womanizer (Deitch Projects, New York) in 2007 and The Way That We Rhyme: Woman, Art and Politics (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco) in 2008.