Moor Mother

Autoportrait dans une fourmilière
(Portrait in an anthill)

Yann Marussich (CH)

In a glass box reminding a coffin, ants swarm over a motionless human body for several hours. The co-presence between an immobile human body and an overactive ant colony examines the liminal area, the passageway towards death, since insects are known to actively participate in decomposition processes. Isn’t the death of one organism not always the basis of the life for others? Isn’t necropolitics intrinsically linked to biopolitics? Are humans really an exception?


The audience can experience this uncanny ecology, confusing micro, meso- and macro-scopic scales. It can listen via headphones to the amplified noise created by the ants, or visually zoom into details of the colony, while close-up images are being broadcasted in real time. This observatory of liminal life in this trans-species setting canvasses the audience to reflect on its own relationship with death and dying, by almost experiencing it viscerally. Marussich experiments, physically and emotionally, with the continuity between life and death from a deliberately non-psychological and organic perspective.

Research on immobility is based on the idea that all apparent immobility harbours countless movements – the flow of life, the circulation of vital fluids, the beating heart. The pinnacle of immobility, however, lies in death. Death might be nothing more than a passage from one state to another, a fraction of a second that leads to decomposition. Swiss dancer and performer Yann Marussich has dismissed choreographed work centered on human movement for three decades, prefering encounters where performance is considered in terms of duration.

Yann Marussich featured at CLICK Festival in 2016 with his motionless performance Bleu Provisoire. Below is an interview about his performance. 

Photo credit: Ulrich Fischer