texts and interviews > 01.2003 shirtology - catalogue videodanse

The basic element of Shirtology (1997) is the T-shirt. It's a short totally stupid piece where the dancer, Frédéric Seguette takes off the fifty T-shirts he is wearing one by one. For three months I had to buy hundreds of awful T-shirts; I then categorised them so as to create a dramaturgy that the audience would discover little by little. It's an interminable strip-tease which is not at all erotic.

The interest of the piece lies in the fact that it takes over the dominant ideology that T-shirts generally extol so as to produce a subjective treatise. Rather than opposing the capitalist force, this piece absorbs its energy and transforms it into a reflection on alienation, weakness and finally the revelation of the infinite power of this very weakness.

The piece had a varied and contrasting reception. I remember an article in the Munich press entitled “Shitology”. In Beyrouth a scandalised couple yelled that the piece was a complete waste of time, but the worst was in Australia when Frédéric Seguette carried on bravely taking off his wretched T-shirts while at the same time trying to avoid the beer cans that the audience, outraged at the piece, were hurling at the stage. But as well there were people who gave me their own T-shirts, not hesitating to undress on the very steps of the theatre after the show. Or the technicians in a Madrid theatre who gave me the T-shirt of their football team. But my favourite was the one that Maurizio Cattelan gave me in Vienna : a red one with “audience” written on it.