Halfway through 1984’s Knife Boxing, Johanna Went interrupts her incessant frenzied bopping to thrust her hands into a crudely made body part—half-buttocks, half-vagina—suspended from the roof of Club Lingerie.1 A vicious viscous excremental substance seeps down her arm. She brings her face close and sucks the stuff into her mouth before hauling out a giant goo-covered tampon that she aggressively flings at the audience. Some cringe, others laugh. Quickly she pulls on a costume, a huge mask-headed apron covered in sex doll heads, all the while screaming her unique tongue, a babble from Hell channeled through Lolita-cum-Medea. Screeching tape loops accompany her, along with a blaring saxophone and a loud percussive racket emanating from a woman drumming on found objects.2 A monstrous vagina appears stage right. Went extracts more tampons, heaving each into the mesmerized mosh pit. Completely at one with her, the audience starts hurling these back in a game of volleyball gone mad. After all, this show was held to coincide with the Los Angeles Olympics. Much art programming accompanied that event, but Went was not part of the roster. Instead, she held her own celebration of sports, on the stage of a punk club, flanked by headless stockinette figures replete with genitalia parodying the elegant cast metal kouroi made by Robert Graham to decorate the official Olympic stadiums.
Category: Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Deliberate Obscurity | Antisocial Activities | Armageddon and Apocalypses | Bad Habits, Neuroses and Psychoses | Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Music | Avant Garde | Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers | Twentieth Century