Every morning before they start working, the US Nevada Control Station’s drone pilots meet for a yoga session. And before they return to their normal lives in the evenings, half an hour of collective meditation helps them let go of the ›battle mind‹ that they need for war. These are strategies designed to protect those involved in modern warfare — mentally if not physically — from overload. In READY, AIM, the first part of Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt’s long-term study Schützen, the Danish performance artist examines athletic and strategic aspects of physical preparation for use of weapons and combat. The second part of the trilogy, FIRE, focuses on the act of shooting and the delegation of killing. Choreographed by Ullerup Schmidt, teenagers aim at the audience, innocently flying small toy helicopters. Is institutionalized killing a private or public event? The last part, RELEASE, is based on interviews that Ullerup Schmidt carried out in summer 2012 with former soldiers from the Israeli army. Phantom memories are evoked of a life with a weapon as a kind of prosthesis.
The word ›Schützen‹ in German has an etymological double meaning. On one hand, it means someone who shoots, yet on the other, it means to shield, protect or prevent. Using the act of ›protection‹ and its masculine connotations as a starting point, in her first solo project Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt questions the effect on the body of handling a weapon.
Schützen is curated as one of the chosen performances at the prestigious Impulse Theater Biennal 2013.