A note on: Performing in Stockholm with Aase Berg

Read the full writeup here with all the videos and pictures www.stevenjfowler.com/sweden 10tal's Stockholm International Poetry Festival - November 22nd 2016

An inspiring burst of collaborative performative energy and invention in the Swedish capital for the Fiender project at the 20th anniversary of 10tal’s famed Stockholm International Poetry Festival. Six months in the planning, curated by myself, Harry Man and festival director Madeleine Grive and Emanuel Holm, this was a intense experience, with nothing but fascinating people in attendance at the fest and a genuinely resonant team feeling to the collaborations.

I had the pleasure of working on a new poem performance with Aase Berg, without overstatement one of the most interesting European poets of the last twenty years, whom I’d interviewed for my Maintenant series just after I started writing really. Our correspondence collaboration broke through powerfully when she suggested we might work on the notion of guiltlessness, the quality, or characteristic rather, of being cold, unemotional and somehow shading psychopathy, so rarely admitted in contemporary arts circles (!). I share such a suspicious about myself, that I have an empty chasm in my chest sometimes and am capable of terrible deeds, simply fenced in by a comfortable life and very little stress and opportunity to render harm, and we quickly wrote something akin to a miniplay made up of poems, a test to give out to the audience and conceptual acts. In real time we put all this together on the day really, in the hotel an hour or two before performance. It came together beautifully. Aase was the cold dictatorial matriarch and me the kvetching jelly, at various times lying face down on stage, taking the fetal position and drooling on myself. It was awkward in the best way possible.