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Dents, Gencives, Machines, Futur, Société

A performance by Lili Reynaud Dewar (New Settings #6)

Dustbins shaped like teeth, a film shot in Memphis, painted curtains, and performers with chrome-plated teeth define the setting and timescale for DGMFS. Lili Reynaud Dewar deploys her dental subject-matter to orchestrate a metaphor for the social conflicts rocking America, yesterday and today. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Dents, Gencives, Machines, Futur, Société
© L. Reynaud-Dewar

Perched on an unfeasibly high stool, stand-up comedy performers deliver a series of toothy anecdotes. Seated imperturbably at their feet, a female cyborg recites Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto while a musician combines melodies, noise music and sounds sampled from the preparation phase of the project, devised by French artist Lili Reynaud Dewar. The piece presents a mix of performers, evoking the racial, social, and feminist struggles that have marked American counter-culture.

Images shot in Memphis evoke iconic scenes from the sanitation workers’ strike of 1968 (Sanitation Strike), together with the assassination of Martin Luther King. They also document the use of grillz (gold teeth caps) by performers. As an assertion of rapper identity, or the embodiment of resistance and social inequality in a country with no universal health system, teeth are central to the project and its set design. The refuse filling the dustbin-teeth narrates the process of the performance’s collective maturation.  

The piece plays on forms and effects of scale, shifting between performance interventions, images from the US and sculptural details – right down to the grillz worn by the narrators.

Lili Reynaud Dewar won the Prix Ricard for contemporary art in 2013. Her protean work has achieved international acclaim. DGFMS is her latest project, presented as  part of New Settings #6 from the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, which has supported its production and staging at the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers.

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Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers
Saturday, December 10 and Sunday December 11, 2016
Duration c. 30 min 


With Darius Clayton, Ashley Cook, Hendrik Hegray.
Production: Red Shoes and Lili Reynaud-Dewar • With the support of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of New Settings #6 • Co-produced with the Kunstverein Hamburg, Museion Bolzano • Supported by and courtesy of Galerie Kamel Mennour and Galerie Emanuel Layr, Clearing.