Felix Ruckert


Interview Klaus Mondrian









1/ Starting with your workshop/space in Berlin... what did it represent for you and for the city itself?

Schwelle7 was the first place in Berlin to combine artistic research and sexuality with an aesthetic, philosophical and practical approach. It was, for me, about extending the boundaries between choreography and participatory performance so as to arrive at something that was more radical than what there had been on the theatre landscape until then: to create a kind of utopia, a place where you could freely express and explore the body and emotions, outside the rules imposed by society. Whoever entered “Schwelle7” (The Threshold) immediately became aware of being in a special place; a place where you were allowed to explore your own erotic phantasies, accept your desires, and access even the darkest corners of your own personality. People could do all this in a safe environment, with other consensual adults, being able to clearly set their own limits - all this without the risk of being judged. This space for freedom of expression has had an incredible impact on the lives of many people. What’s more, during the nine years Schwelle7 was open, a very close-knit community was created, composed of people from very different backgrounds, cultures and ages; a kind of happy, blissful world where you could be yourself and share games, experiments in exploration and new discoveries with others. Schwelle7 has been closed for more than a year now, and it is sorely missed by many people.

2/ You come from a background in dance and have worked with great choreographers including Pina Baush. Do you think these great figures have had an influence, through their work, on spreading a new concept of who we are as people and also on our sexuality?

There is a great paradox within dance: as it celebrates and empowers the body, it also imposes considerable discipline; a lot of choreography draws its strength from this ambiguity, which is intrinsic in form-dance. Dance is a ritual in which the body is “sacrificed to the gods”; in my opinion this sacrifice also implies the sacrifice of one’s own sexuality. The creative process always makes you address the essential themes of life, death, sex, and identity. By working with sexuality, in a certain sense, I must question just what, for me, the very driving force behind artistic creation is. Every choreographer follows his or her own idea of ​​the representation of the body; dance is a cultural construction, an artifact that fights a duel with existence. I’m not a theatre historian, but I believe that every innovative artist, in carrying out research with his or her work, definitely questions the concept of identity. Live performances like “Schwelle7” and the various “xplore festivals” allow participants to approach practices that encourage constant construction and deconstruction of their identities. The experience of BDSM techniques makes it possible for everyone to play and reveal nuances and different hidden or repressed aspects of their individual personality. This process is similar to the “Instant Composition” techniques I developed while working with dancers in my dance performances.

3/ Today you are working with BDSM international workshops and intellectual erotic seminars that address these issues. How did you arrive at these issues related to BDSM and what concepts have you developed about these issues?

BDSM is a phenomenon that embraces sexuality, theatricality, personal development and performance; for this reason it is a very fascinating and complex field of study. The link between vitality and theatricality in BDSM is exemplary. BDSM, in my opinion, is a conscious way of embodying one’s own emotions. The representation of the body has often been linked to a specialized body, due to the fact that the specialization of the body has historically been linked to work; but, as the means of production have changed, so has the body, and the body in today’s world has become multi-skilled, multi-specialized and I think its representation is a new social obligation of the individual; in fact, social media and the internet have imposed a new social duty of “playing oneself”. This transformation of society has also had a great impact on the concept of intimacy, which, in this context, can only evolve and expand. As an artist I am interested in this kind of transformation and I believe that the multiplication of identity is a positive evolution.

4/ Do you think that there is hope for the world? That people should have the hope of being able to change themselves and the world? Or do you think that the idea of utopia is destined to end?

I can’t say whether the world is changing for better or worse, but what I do see is that we have been deprived of our body by the dominant culture. I see my work as a possibility of deconstructing not only images of the body, but the body itself, to enact a reappropriation of oneself and of one’s own desires. I believe that is also why people are attracted to my work and why the “Xplore Festival”, which I have been organising for fifteen years in Berlin as well as in other European cities, has become increasingly popular. We will be in Rome for the sixth consecutive year on 24th, 25th and 26th June 2018. This kind of exploration makes people freer and happier.

5/ This magazine deals with transgender issues. What do you think about no genderism, a society without sexual classes?

I am against all discrimination and I celebrate difference. For me, thinking in a binary way is just a tool with which to play and extend reality, not to describe it. Behaving in the same way with everyone may, at times, be unfair. Liquefying identity does not mean fudging differences, but rather celebrating its complexity; so, at times, I am somewhat suspicious of some ideologies that claim extreme equality. Diversity must be celebrated and extremes are an integral part of vitality. I believe that any kind of dogma can become harmful because it inhibits creativity. I think there is a big difference between being equal and equality and I have the impression that “Genderism” sometimes has the tendency to level all differences. I believe in the freedom of all individuals and, in my work, I place before all else the respect for the rights and desires of everyone, as long as they do not interfere with the freedom of others.