At Her Lady’s Pleasure
[Performance serial #] 
[Performance name / date] At Her Lady’s Pleasure, 23/8/13
[Performance location] The Wig, Birmingham
[Performance members] Lee Chaos, Adrian Giddings, Kate Spence, Sara Dobson, Vicky Roden, Aleks Wojtulewicz, Marcus Lanyon, Charlie McNeill, Audience
[Performance type] performance art + installation + audience participation + residency
temp0rary collaborated with performance artist Kate Spence during her residency at The Wig in Birmingham, culminating in the performance, At Her Lady’s Pleasure, on the evening of 23 August 2013.
The performance was designed as a multi-sensory garden party. The guests were greeted by ushers in intimidating uniforms, and were served three courses of tea, sandwiches and cake over the course of the evening. Each course of food, served on a custom made tea service, triggered musical elements in a concerto to be played as they were consumed, which temp0rary then performed live alongside. In addition, cupids on the table would whisper to the audience if they sensed their presence.
In the centre of the stage was a swing from which Kate oversaw the festivities, receiving physical feedback from a number of vibrating devices that responded directly to the audience’s interactions. In turn, Kate’s EEG brain waves were monitored throughout the performance and translated into additional musical elements creating a continual biofeedback loop between the performer and audience.
At Her Lady’s Pleasure was part immersive theatre, part improvised audiovisual gig and part endurance performance, creating a unique event for both audience and performers.
The following video was shot by Timothy James Pratt.
At the close of the performance we gave the following text to our guests and sent them out into the night (you can also download a copy of the original as a PDF).
Thank you for attending this evening At Her Lady’s Pleasure. We hope you have enjoyed the performance.
Many of the details of this evening have been kept secret before the performance to keep elements of the night a surprise, so you could experience everything as it happened.
Now, however, we would like to divulge more information about the event you have participated in.
Way, way back, Kate Spence decided she would like to make music from an orgasm, to create the most beautiful symphony from the most beautiful feeling. To make something that transcended any possible remnant of shame that could be attached to this experience of sexual pleasure. To make something that would be using the body’s state of arousal to create something so beautiful that it could become a shared experience. She wanted the audience to be complicit in her arousal, to create those feelings, and for those feelings to be translated into magnificent imagery and sound, allowing something internal and elusive to become externally manifested in a shared art experience of epic resplendence.
In order to make a piece of live art that would be able to do this, it needed to be incredible.
In April 2013 both Kate Spence and temp0rary performed at an epic live art event in Bristol called Tempting Failure; Kate slow dancing in a prison cell with members of the audience in an intimate piece about love, longing, heartbreak and failed chances, and temp0rary performing a large-scale interactive audiovisual performance exploring extreme physical states through music in collaboration with performance artist Traumata. Boom, right there and then Kate knew that these were the men for this heroic task.
Better yet, on proposing her idea to temp0rary they didn’t laugh her off as a mad woman but completely and utterly understood the concept and driving force from day one. This has been a true collaboration from creation to completion.
Meetings in London, Cheltenham and Birmingham followed, culminating in a journey where each of us has pushed past our creative and personal limits in an attempt to bring you an evening that celebrates wholeheartedly and without shame all pleasures as equal – equally important, equally vital to life, to be experienced no matter who you are, what your parents told you, what Freud said, or what you have been told is acceptable or unacceptable.
Tonight there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure.
For some people, this is easy, and that is to be celebrated, but for others there are times – sometimes lifetimes – that can be spent in shame of the self and a feeling that one is undeserving of certain pleasures for whatever reason. For those in this position life can be a constant state of self discipline, the body’s natural desires repressed by constant chastising chatter in the mind, any moment of weakness punished by thoughts and actions of self castigation for daring to have the audacity to disobey the mind’s demands for the body to ‘behave’ – let alone, daring to enjoy it.
Whatever created this is perhaps unimportant. It is one’s self that keeps itself trapped and only one’s self that has the power to unlock it too. This knowledge is the key to empowerment and liberation.
Tonight you have been interacting with the sound and the visuals through shared rituals of drinking tea and eating cake. These actions have been translated into light, sound and vibration which have been relayed to Kate through a specially created audiovisual environment designed and built by temp0rary. In turn, Kate’s physical and mental states have been monitored to create discreet bio-feedback loops that have affected the performance. This has resulted in a fantastic feedback loop of shared enjoyment – quite literally, At Her Lady’s Pleasure.
We cannot guarantee that you enjoyed this experience but we sincerely hope you did. We cannot guarantee that Kate enjoyed this experience but we hope she did too.
Tonight we attempted to manifest an audience/artist interactive orgasm through the power of tea and cake. Whether or not this was achieved we can’t think of a more beautiful way to try.
Life is too short and too long to spend waiting. No regrets.
Many people have helped with the creation of this event in numerous ways. We would like to thank…
Sara Dobson, Vicky Roden, Aleks Wojtulewicz, Marcus Lanyon and Charlie McNeill.
The Wig & Sonya Russell Saunders;
The Rep Theatre for prop hire;
Susan Holder for costumes;
Charlie McNeill for technical support and logistics;
Siobhan Abbey for catering;
Daniel Salisbury, Ana Benlloch, Ian Messenger, Andrew Fentham and the London Centre for Book Arts.
Behind the scenes of At Her Lady’s Pleasure. Until then enjoy Lee taking you through the workings of the tea service:
Adrian makes a work-in-progress test video mix to show his co-conspiritors:
Lee and the indispensable Charlie McNeill test an atmosphere-producing hamper, hilarity ensues. (We tried as much as we could to hide all the tech that made the event possible):