Devised by Claudia Kappenberg
Performers: Marina Tsartsara, Johanna Ronkko, Lori O ’Reagan,
Chloé Ducharne and Claudia Kappenberg.
Part of the Soundwaves Festival 2008, Brighton Train Station, UK.
13th June 2008
Extreme Ironing was originally conceived as an autumnal project for Vogelfrei, (7th Biennale Darmstadt, Germany, 2007). The Intervention was subsequently reconfigured for the Soundwaves Festival at the Brighton Train Station;
Old newspapers are collected from the incoming trains, ironed page by page and, still warm, re-distributed to the next set of travellers. Through this process an old tradition is renewed, as butler's used to iron the daily papers for their masters. In this case the discarded is given new life and the traveller ennobled!
The intervention further develops an interactive mode of performance, whereby the performers engage with audiences in the everyday and through a task-based activity which resembles the ordinary. A domestic task is however transferred to a public space and the rational and purpose are distorted, thereby disrupting expectations and behaviours.
Following the premise of the disturbance of one system by another, the event creates an ambivalence which is key to its success. Through the ambivalence complex relations are confused and values are turned on their head; a private ritual becomes public, an exclusive activity is offered to masses of commuters free of charge, the discarded is given attention and the diligence of the performers creates new value.