See Shocking, Strange Things at the Rapid Pulse Performance Art Festival

For 10 days starting Saturday, 35 performers from around the world will offend and delight audiences in four venues across Noble Square.

photo: Zierle & Carter 

You can catch Zierle & Carter’s performance, “At the Edge of Longing: Charred Territories,” at Rapid Pulse on June 7. 

The upcoming Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival is the Lollapalooza of performance art.

Organized by Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Rapid Pulse is a buffet of emotional provocation. If the movies feel a little too safe, and the dive bar too bland, then the remedy might just be watching someone get crucified in a gallery. Or witnessing a woman churn butter (with her legs, of course).

Over ten days, from June 1 to June 10, 35 performers from around the world will shock and delight audiences in 4 venues across Noble Square. Of the 35 performances, which will surely include genderflips, sex with food, and live crying, here are the ones you must see:

Wafaa Bilal

You may recall Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal from his “Shoot an Iraqi” performance in Chicago from 2008. He returns with a social media performance that exhumes internet cult heroes from “a graveyard for memes.” For “Technoviking,” Bilal brings the head of the Technoviking (remember the muscled raver?) to Chicago, as a giant inflatable. The head, linked to its own Twitter account, will fill with air as it receives live tweets. Saturday, June 1 at 4 p.m., in a live public performance. rapidpulse.org/project/wafaa-bilal.

Elana Katz

In her performance titled “They Said It Was Dry,” the Berlin-based artist takes a sleeping pill and lies down in a bed in the middle of the gallery. Her sleep lasts 8 hours, during which visitors can view her. A “light water mist” falls from the ceiling, collecting on the artist’s body. Sunday, June 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Defibrillator, 1136 North Milwaukee. rapidpulse.org/project/elana-katz.

Sükran Moral

From Turkey, Sükran Moral performs “The Lynching of an Artist,” in which the artist will attempt to play a piano. She won’t be able to, however, because her wrists and ankles will be tied up in bondage by a “person that looks like a killer.” The audience will be permitted to spit on the artist. Monday, June 3 at 7pm. Defibrillator, 1136 North Milwaukee. rapidpulse.org/project/sukran-moral.

BEVERLY FRE$H

Noted for his Guinness Book World Record (breaking the most eggs on his head), BEVERLY FRE$H from Detroit performs “Mr Midwest,” a mix of comedy, hip-hop, and public humiliation. His music is fresh indeed: rapidpulse.org/project/beverly-fresh. Wednesday June 5 at 7pm. Defibrillator, 1136 North Milwaukee.

Zierle & Carter

Burnt toast as metaphor? Definitely. From the UK, Zierle & Carter’s performance “At the Edge of Longing: Charred Territories” (pictured above) intends to disrupt your expectations. Friday, June 7 at 4pm. Electrodes at Defibrillator, 1136 North Milwaukee. rapidpulse.org/project/zierle-and-carter.

All performances are $10 requested donation. More info at rapidpulse.org. 

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