with Ewa DziarnowskaMaciej Sado, & Andrey Bogush

sound by KILBOURNErick h m [umami goddess™]

costume by Franziska Acksel

also with & Elliott Cennetoglu


ADHD Penetration is a performance which plays with possibilities for affect. Expressions of virtual selves step offscreen and devices mediate imagined worlds where negotiations of attention and different forms of liveness or embodiment are performed. Penetrating “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” as both a diagnosis and extrapolated condition of the 21st century elicits total uninvolvement and hyper-presence. Offline and live-streaming to unseeable destinations, we empathize towards a child whose first impressions of a world are addictive YouTube clip loops, online popularity competitions, and forced multitasking.

The performance was premiered as part of Dirty Debüt's third edition, "Snickers," at Sophiensæle. (Documentation images © Dorothea Tuch & Telémachos Alexiou; non-participatory documentation video © Diethild Meier.)

ADHD Penetration is, as one would say on Twitter, a Big Mood. As post-whatever as it might be, it is to me first and foremost moving in all its irony and post-irony. As signaled by the title and by a whole set of stylistic choices, these affective layers though are so impressive not least because they are always connected within their cultural framework. As in the outside world, for example, it's not at all subtle how there's always a video camera involved in the actions on stage. What will happen with this footage, what other audience is this for? And the pills the performers are swallowing evoke both Skittles or Adderall and their respective industries – either way, a significant high. Rather than being about the psychiatric-industrial complex, though, ADHD Penetration is playing with its feelings. And is also played by them. Is this a shift, is it a critique, reflection, reproduction? At the risk of being too cool for school, ADHD Penetration mobilizes an ambivalence in not knowing yet.

Sianne Ngai, for whom cuteness is one of the aesthetic categories of the times we call our times, writes of it that it's 'not just an aestheticization but an eroticization of powerlessness, evoking tenderness for small things but also, sometimes, a desire to belittle or diminish them further.' Eroticization of powerlessness in the face of how good it can feel – in the face of how bad it feels, too – is certainly a theme.”

  — Max Wallenhorst