MOTH: The Big Chew

performance at Museum KKLB in Beromünster, Switzerland.

Unfolding over the course of a year, MOTH takes place in an unheated, open space in rural Switzerland. The installation invites the weather, non-human animals, and other external factors to enter and take effect on the materials, proposing an interspecies audience and a work that sustains life in the forms of nourishment, burrowing ground and habitat. Comprising organic and inorganic matter, the installation takes on an active, transient quality, in which time, materials, gestures, and words shape and affect one another. The work is further enlivened by four performances that are held in-line with the seasons.

The Big Chew is the third of four seasonal performances within the exhibition, and took place on May 5th 2019.

Now, the mouth opens. Gaping. An entrance. An exit. A gateway between organs and celestial bodies, thought and utterance, the finite gauging the infinite. A voice emerges, indicating, desiring presence. Demanding affirmation.

Stuff goes in, stuff comes out all the time. The body is porous. The skin—the body’s largest organ—is absorbent and brittle. Barely a barrier between what is outside and what is inside. It draws in and oozes out. Vulnerable to dirt and radiation and touch and the soundwaves of words hitting its surface. Anything that brushes the epidermis eventually enters the body, where it remains, at least for some time. The point of entry is unclear (it is everywhere). Unclear too is where it seeps out, if it ever does (it might decide to settle).

The lungs are a pump, a constant circulation of the exterior. Breathing as embodying, breathing as becoming place. You inhale your environment and breathe out your body. Orifices and cavities is really all there is—the body is a hole. A shell. Cavernous. Stubborn hollow organs and veins and ducts and liquids remarkably strung together, internalising the external and vice versa. To chew and excrete the world. To wear a mourning wreath woven from your own hair. To grab the soil and knead it into fistfuls of rage.

Images by Mik Matter
Generously supported by Stichting Stokroos

from the mud and the slime


Those dying years. It was about language and about what happens when language is uttered. How some things are said with such confidence they almost seem true. How you can adopt a voice to sound at once fraudulent and faithful. Some people use words with such certainty it bears no refute. I’ve never had this relationship to words, always stuck between languages, never grasping one as a tool to be wielded.