Sub Rosa
Performative Installation in collaboration with Jessyca R. Hauser

with Jos McKain, Marie Ursin, Nicolás Rosés Ponce and Ofelia Jarl Ortega, curator: Marlene Engel

„Sub Rosa“ was commissioned by the Wiener Festwochen 2017 as part of the HYPERREALITY - Festival for Club Culture.

In the program, the performance was announced by the following quotes from fictional visitors:

"According to the legend it is a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker‘s needs."*

"I heard that they filled an entire Jacuzzi with jelly. Topless people rolling around in there. Then they’d handed out scripts and had everybody perform Medea. I wish I could have been there!”

„It’s interesting how socio-cultural topics, like the question of hierarchies around club-culture are challenged by Sub Rosa. It makes you wonder about the various behavioral codes people have invented, and subsequently been conditioned to follow, within these seemingly ritualistic attitudes? Which structural exclusions and subjective projections are ruling the club and how can we actively forget about them?“

„I just wanted to grab some drinks with my bros. Didn’t even plan to stay long. But at the door there was a giant, who would only speak in riddles... Sub Rosa has a weird door policy.“

Sub Rosa is hidden in a secret corner of the castle and not shown on regular maps. It can be found on three days of the festival.

*J.K.Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (London: Bloomsbury, 2003); p. 427

special thanks to: Jojo Gronostay, Johanna Meßner, Philip Rubner and Christopher Steinweber und Pato Wiesauer

The music festival „Hyperreality“ took place at Schloss Neugebäude in Simmering, Vienna. In the west hall was the performative installation „Sub Rosa“ located, which was open three nights for eight hours each. „Sub Rosa“ symbolizes an artificial backstage area, a utopian space that only became accessible to festival visitors if they were curious enough to discover it. „Sub Rosa“ is an installative experiment that plays with the expectations of the audience and analyzes and infiltrates the social structures of club hierarchies.

The 400 square meter hall was made unrecognizable at the entrance by an artificially installed labyrinth. If the visitors followed the dark corridor they came to a black door with an electronic keypad lock, which opened by entering any combination. Behind it was a performer on an elevated throne, who made it clear to the guests that they were entering a special room now, as admission they had to have their fingernail painted. This ritual ensured that the visitors met the performers and the installation with respect, and others did not participate at all. The room itself was a stylish place with buffet, lounge area and music that suggested exclusivity. The objects played with the notion of sparkle and fake, so the green and pink drinks served in champagne glasses were colored beer. The room was populated by six performers who implied a different mood depending on the time of day. At first it was quiet and the performers followed a choreography or improvised with the objects in the room. Many visitors took over their behavior or acted in personal conversation with them.

„Sub Rosa“ was located next to the wardrobes of the artists performing at the festival who were also inhabiting the room. The musician Tomasa del Real gave a private concert after her official gig. If the mood turned into a party, all visitors were thrown out on the pretext that now an artist needed the space for herself.

Image 1 © Jessyca R. Hauser
Img. 2-7 (c) Elza Okazaki