Secret Joy

Gregory Barnett and Dani O'Terry play Rea and Bea, performers from a post revolutionary society whose attempts at replaying scenes of state power being toppled are sabotaged by the pleasures they take at being both victim and torturer.

Following the presentation of "Punishment's Place" in the fall of 2018, "Secret Joy" is the second in a quartet of  performances engaging the desire for retribution played out in the transformations of monumental sculptural figures.

Research for this project was facilitated by the Wallis Annenberg Helix Fellowship.

*footage by Ian Byers Gamber

...A creature worthy of my trap...Masks of the torturers...And if they cry…Stay a torturer stay!

Secret Joy is a 40 minute performance within a sculptural installation inspired by an experience in the summer of 2019 in Belarus. At the end of a research fellowship to Eastern Europe, we visited the site of a soviet era monument to partisan resistance to Nazi occupation. There a collegue read the testimony of a Jewish woman who described the capture of a Nazi officer and his subsequent torture by her hands. I thought then about the delicious fantasy of having the torturer right where you want him, trapped and helpless. How often do we imagine these authoritarians subjected to their own brutality? The jailer jailed, the killer killed, the torturer tortured. Secret joy investigates the desire to perform the role of victim / survivor in order to stabilize the signifiers of power and oppression. During the performance the Blue Soldier’s head transformed from a bogeyman exploding through a closet door, a monument, and finally into a lobotomized head, confessions vomited into its cranium.