Oct 302023

credit: Carolee Schneeman, still from Infinity Kisses – The Movie (2008). Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix

Infinity Kisses 23 is a 5:52min long sound piece that responds to Carolee Schneeman´s work of (almost) the same title, re-imagining the act of kissing that is presented in the original, though sound.

Cats were of importance to the renowned performance artist, Carole Schneeman, throughout  her life, as was her own body. It was therefore no surprise to me that Schneeman would engage in bodily interspecies intimacy, which the original Infinity Kisses series documents through photography. On the other hand though, for me it raised questions around what intimacy with animal companions actually is, and where it moves into zoosex with its inherent power issues. I was also thinking about the avalanche of cat images and cat videos I have watched on social media, where animals are made to imitate humans for our amusement.

The structure of the piece is part experiential – emerging from listening to the materials, part conceptual. One of Schneeman´s Infinty works, Infinity Kisses II (1990-98) was recorded over an eight-year period, and Infinity Kisses (23) compresses this into 8 days. The original  35mm photographs where made in the process of kissing, essentially early selfies with uncontrolled light and focus and an aspect of improvisation (1). My kissing and cat sounds were recorded in my bedroom, with the windows open, equally improvised, uncontrolled and created haphazardly. In the second part of the piece I work these recordings into more of a dreamy state – Scheeman believed that one of cats communicated from the afterlife (2).

“I position the interspecies kiss, indeed the kiss in general, as performative” (3) declared Lynn Turner who researches how animal and sexual differences matter in visual and aural culture. In Infinity Kisses (23) I inhabit and perform both the role of human and cat for your amusement, but also your thoughtfulness, contemplating the amazing work of Carolee Schneeman and her humanity these embody.

The piece was created for the exhibition Carolee Schneemann’s Cats by the collective Cats Like Plain Crisps, at Blindside, Melbourne, Australia from 8 Nov–2 Dec 2023. It was accompanied by a live performance in which Iris performed a duo with herself, via a turntable and dubplates.

  1. Mantle, Jac (2012). Carolee Schneemann: Carnal Visionary (online). Available from https://www.theskinny.co.uk/festivals/edinburgh-festivals/art/carolee-schneemann-carnal-visionary
  2. Thackara, Tess (2018). Carolee Schneeman´s lifelong love affair wit her cats (Online), Available from https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-carolee-schneemanns-lifelong-love-affair-cats
  3. Turner, Lynn (2010). When Species Kiss: some recent correspondence between animots. In: Humanimalia – a journal of human/animal interface studies, 2(1), pp. 60-85.


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