Ejercicio de Subordinación Nº 1 (en solitaire/performance)

Joan Morey

Since Hegel’s writing on the dialectics of the master and the slave, a lot has been speculated on domination/subordination relations. This discussion has however always remained within the purely theoretical field and has functioned more in terms of a way of thinking about dialectical processes than as an element of social reflection. It wasn’t until post-structuralist theoreticians like Gilles Deleuze and Michael Foucault revisited the work of “cursed” writers such as Masoch or Sade that thinking about the political character of what until then had just been considered sexual deviations (submission games and exercises, subordination, domination and punishment) started. In this video-performance Morey uses a fragment of Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Nouvelle Vague” in order to propose a very particular reflection on the structures of domination that articulate all social processes.

The performance that this video presents was recorded in the club “Cúpula de Venus” in Barcelona (very appropriate for such a performance), alone first, and a second time with an audience. Both parts of the video can be shown independently or one after the other. In the first piece we can watch a theatrical performance and a monologue without an audience. In the second, the same thing occurs, this time with an audience. On this occasion, the public finds itself immersed in a filmic atmosphere, with a woman, appropriately dressed in fetishistic attire, linked to the sadomasochistic imaginary, slowly and repeatedly serving glasses of wine among the baffled members of the audience. We can quickly remark that in the video different levels of domination are represented: the first and most evident, the prearranged relationship between the “waitress” and the artist. Soon we can appreciate that the discomfort and violence taking hold of the public, turns into a situation of subordination that has not previously been agreed upon. The members of the audience find themselves subject to a game whose rules are unknown to them, part of a process over which they have little control.

There comes a moment when the waitress, the central character in the video, breaks loose of the gag that has kept her silent. She recites a monologue (from the film adaptation of a text by Friedrich Schiller, taken from Godard’s “Nouvelle Vague”) with which she perfectly fulfills her part of the agreement, speaking about domination and submission, and making the public participate in a secret albeit visible pact.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Ejercicio de Subordinación Nº 1 (en solitaire/performance)
  • Direction: Joan Morey
  • Production: Hangar y Joan Morey. 2004.
  • Duration: 00:04:05
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English - French
  • Original format: DV-Cam
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright