MOCA London

Autumn Performance events:

Roberto Ekholm
Patient Zero & Cousin Mosquito:
Panopticism of seduction

27 October, 2018
8 pm

The two performances Patient Zero and Cousin Mosquito play on the language used to discuss illnesses, both in media and political terms where the individual morphs into projections of fear and the body become a political landscape.

The first part Patient Zero, uses the idea of a press announcement of an epidemic and the relation to “patient zero”. Premiered in Sydney and UK in 2014/15, the performance will be developed further at the MOCA London event.
The starting research for Patient Zero was the book “And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic" by Randy Shilts, an investigative report on the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s. The book introduces the urban legend of the Canadian flight attendant Gaëtan Dugas as patient zero. The book looks at the medical, social and political implications of the disease. During an epidemic outbreak, the search is for the origin of the outbreak and to find patient zero.
In recent studies the identity of Dugas as patient zero was a misinterpretation of the letter O. To find answers and evoke a sense of control there is an urge to define and contain knowledge as a comprehensive truth. Peter Berger states that death is an essential feature of the human condition that requires people to develop means of coping with it. As suggested by Chris Shilling it is only in the context of “the body’s inevitable death that we can understand its full social importance”. Self-Identity becomes part of the social constitution in relation to death. As science develops and the “terminal” turns to “chronic” the body becomes a canvas for metaphors of fears, hope and desires.
The piece is structured around the word Epidemic and follows Susan Sontag’s writing about illness and metaphors;  a synthesis of imagery is used as a backdrop to “The outbreak declaration”.

Cousin Mosquito
Voice: Jacquelyn Bell
Cello: Rondell Gulley
Costume Design: RalphShola “Someoneson” Adejare

The second part is the premiere of Cousin Mosquito based on the Liberian Congresswoman Malinda Jackson Parker’s song “Cousin Mosquito #1". She promoted community health and hygiene and wrote the song to educate the population about Malaria. The eccentric lyrics about mosquitos were written to Rachmaninoff’s prelude and will be performed by a singer and a cellist. The piece explores the relationship between sexual health, health promotions and metaphors used to discuss, educate, warn, and control the spread of diseases. When knowledge expands beyond fear and isolation, prevention becomes a seduction.

The original song has been reconstructed and uses forms to play on language, words, sound and rhythm as information. This open-ended piece becomes a staged act for “getting the message across” and questions for what purpose, and to whom, these messages are created and directed.

Press Release


Michael Petry

Published by Thames & Hudson

Case study#34 (Prana) is featured in newly released book The WORD is Art

A fascinating global overview of how contemporary artists incorporate text and language into work that speaks to some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.

There has been much scaremongering about the ‘death of the book’ and how, as words find new ways and means of transmission, people might gradually begin to shun writing. In the digital age, text becomes information, and information strives to become free. But what value can text hold in the sphere of visual art? How is such text different to poetry? Can the poetic itself be visual art, or is text in this context consigned to the realms of gimmick and catchphrase?

Looking at the work of a broad range of artists including, Ghada Amer, Fiona Banner, Tania Bruguera, Chun Kwang Young, Martin Creed, eL Seed, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Jospeh Kosuth, Barbara Kruger, Christian Marclay, Annette Messager, Harland Miller, Raymond Pettibon, Laure Prouvost, Kay Rosen, Rachel Whiteread, Christopher Wool, Cerith Wyn Evans, Zhang Huan and many more,

The Art of Creativity Awards

Roberto Ekholm is on the panel of judges for The 2018 Art of Creativity Awards, hosted by Soho House.