The Watermill Center, 2010
created by Carlos Soto and Charles Chemin
with Nixon Beltran, Charles Chemin, Marianna Kavallieratos, Jakob Oredsson, Carlos Soto
music Terry Riley Olson III, 1967
associate designer Mariano Marquez
design assistants Annouk Berenguer, Jean-Philippe Racca
duration, 3 hours
Have Mercy on Me looks at paradise not through a biblical lens, but opting for artificial paradises—to borrow somewhat from Baudelaire; looking to soil the image of paradise, making of its mystical purity something rather more organic, less ethereal.
The quest for paradise is a quest for ecstasy, apotheosis. We present a search for a more prosaic ecstasy, stripped of its sacred element; a search for pure pleasures—masturbation, drugs, fantasy—in a place where none can fulfill you. In heaven, nothing happens.
At the center of this journey is the poet—who, after all, invented the notion of paradise. After being torn to pieces, Orpheus remained but a disembodied head. We propose the body as the location of para- dise—alterable, inhabitable—in multitude, infinitely permutable; alone, a receptacle of desire.
Etymologically speaking, Paradise, or παράδεισος, refers to a walled en- closure. The performance takes place over 3 hours within a small gutted house, driven by a pulsating incantatory soundtrack; a seemingly infinite repetition of candid moments of domesticity, bodily violence and loss of self.
performers Jakob Oredsson, Carlos Soto, Marianna Kavallieratos, Charles Chemin, Nixon Beltran
performer Marianna Kavallieratos
photographs © Lovis Dengler; video stills © Thom Dobbin