Story and Destroy

The Audio Foundation, Poynton Terrace, Auckland

05/02/2019 - 05/02/2019

Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa 2019

Production Details

Josie Archer, Story and Destroy, interactive solo.

This performance was created for Performance Art Week Aotearoa (PAWA) in Wellington, 2018.

Story and Destroy is a labour of love and destruction, featuring one performer and many objects 

and (YOU).

Join us in an intimate ritual of destruction. Using traditional masculine instruments of creation and destruction, Josie will take on a ferocious mission to dismember a selection of objects. 

A spectacular demise of the things we know and what they can represent.

An embrace of feminine rage. 
A not-so-tender intimacy. 

It will be an experience. 

Audio Foundation, 10pm, Sub-Basement/4 Poynton Place, CBD Auckland. To book with limited capacity of 20 for $20: 

Solo , Performance installation , Performance Art , Dance ,

45 mins

Smashing it

Review by Forest vicky kapo 07th Feb 2019

Josie Archer thanks, you smashed it.

Josie Archer has a political body and the politics shine clearly in her solo work Story and Destroy. She stands centre in a small room on a layer of square white sheets held down at the edges by rocks, surrounded by an array of objects and tools that could have come from anyone’s basement.

It is an intimate setting.

She begins with that ubiquitous OSH talk that often appears out of context with the tasks many of us are ‘employed’ to do, yet has creepily grown a whole new government body of bureaucratic censorship and mediocrity.  It is unclear whether we are being made complicit with that culture in this new context.

In this instance, phew, it becomes abundantly clear why the safety glasses laid out on chairs of the limited (20) seated audience are a necessity.

There is a lot of smashing and breaking, and pieces do fly.

The integrity of this performance art work comes from a multiplicity of theatrical devices. Clever ongoing interactions are orchestrated.  Random members of the audience are handpicked and assigned to a tool of destruction and an object that will be destroyed by it. The destroying is given poignancy with live and recorded stories, songs, and sometimes rants, formed from biographical references and experiences. The oration of these events create the pace of the show and they occur sometimes during the acts of violence, at other times before and after. The cycle of destruction begins anew.

The objects are used to make art. Broken, these objects of art are wrapped and placed into an ever-growing heap of waste becoming art objects.

The punk rock rage and rant unleashed in the first few seconds as the first object is brutally destroyed or de-storied, sets up the magic.

The narratives make clear that Josie is indeed aware of smashing her way through cultural and identity mythologies that have been swallowed, impressed, laid and foisted upon her throughout her life. The asynchronous layering of narrative with destructive actions brings questions of delinquency, indulgence, irresponsibility, and wastefulness, while also igniting a vague and primal sense of pleasure.

Who hasn’t wanted to symbolically smash something out of frustration, such as a computer, or plate(s) or figurines or patriarchy? But who is ever given permission?

An unknown toxic substance released by the curated violence forces an abrupt ending.

This unknown consequence surfacing from active destruction means we have to abandon our passivity, and leave the building. The release seems appropriate.

Josie Archer is a compelling performer whose presence has the ability to warm and guide us through dynamic landscapes. As the artist, she is aware of the rigour this performance art form requires and is seeking to satisfy those demands.

Hopefully the future pathways of marketing and commercialism do not corrupt the authentic nature of this show. It sits near the edge and expression of feminist punk art, a culture corner we currently associate with NZ/Berlin artist Alexa Wilson, curator of the EDWA performance series.


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