AMDUAT. AN OXYGEN MACHINE
19 April–10 May 2020
Teater Republique, Østerfælled Torv 37, 2100 Copenhagen
After a completely sold-out season with GILGAMESH at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Hotel Pro Forma will now present AMDUAT. An oxygen machine. This is Part Two of Hotel Pro Forma’s underworld trilogy, based on Harald Voetmann’s book of the same name, which enjoyed rave reviews
AMDUAT. An oxygen machine is a visually compelling performance with newly composed, live music, ambient sound-landscapes, video art, lighting and performance – all on a rarely-seen 28-metre stage.
Like Harald Voetmann’s book, the performance is an amalgam of the story of a man dying at Holbæk hospital and the journey of the Egyptian sun-god through the land of the dead at night. Amduat means ‘that which exists in the underworld’ and is the name of the ancient Egyptian understanding of the land of the dead.
Marie Højlund: Photo by Isak Hoffmeyer - Hari Shankar Kishore: Photo by Sofus Graae
Music and sound-images are the work of the composers Hari Shankar Kishore and Marie Højlund. On stage, Hari Shankar Kishore creates rhythmic sound narratives by blending electronic music with authentic present-day Egyptian music of choirs, voices and sound-images from Egyptian street life. The rhythmic music is interrupted and framed by ambient sound landscapes created by the composer and sound-artist Marie Højlund from her research into auditive hospital environments.
About letting go of life
With AMDUAT. An oxygen machine, Hotel Pro Forma focuses on the theme of life’s basic conditions and of letting go of life, but also on how myths can have a softening effect on taboo and difficult issues. Kirsten Dehlholm says the following about this:
“If the process of dying which is described in AMDUAT. An oxygen machine were to be told clinically and soberly, it would be exceedingly grim and sad. But precisely with the vitality of Harald Voetmann’s language and his use of the interweaving with Egyptian mythology and an ancient-Egyptian understanding of the land of the dead something fantastic happens. The story produces strongly evocative and highly visual universes, and the dying process is thus charged at the same time with black humour, and becomes absurd, sensual and highly present.“
On not dying alone
Do you know where you are? I’m home. I’m at
Bøgebakken. No dad, you’re at Holbæk Hospital.
You have a serious pneumonia. And you probably
had another stroke. Is that you?
It’s so good to see you. Is that your mother walking
out there? No, mum has been dead for 25 years now
It’s an oxygen mask, it’s to help you
breathe. No, you have to keep it on, dad.
Hold on to my hand or to the bedrail. Everybody is here.
– Harald Voetmann, Amduat. An Oxygen Machine