In her new solo “Velvet”, with music by Tian Rotteveel, Claire Vivianne Sobottke shape shifts from woman into animal. Immersed in a set composed of soil, plants and self-playing drums, she uncovers the primal forces of female sexuality.
Interview: Beatrix Joyce
What role do female archetypes play in your work?
I see the female body as a realm in which many things manifest. Countless memories, fantasies, and projections - some horrible, some comical - are stored in the female body. I am interested in embodying archetypes, such as the cave woman, the witch, the half-woman half-animal, as a process of making deeper psychological constructs visible. These constructs include the obsessions and weird ideas I have about my own body. They come from all kinds of different sources but in the end, they form a part of myself.
How is your artistic expression of female sexuality connected with nature?
I see the set-design as a form of constructed nature. Like a garden, it is created by humans, and expresses the desire to be immersed in nature while at the same time being in control of it. Female sexuality, similarly, has always been controlled and tamed by society. There is so much fear surrounding it, and there is so much we, even as women, don’t know. For example, I realised in the process of making this piece that I don’t have free access to my own erotic fantasies as they are so dominated by the things I have been told. For me, the idea of The Wilderness is very important: I see it as an expression of an unknown territory that doesn’t follow human rules and where non-human forces and beings are at play. And this territory may not only be found outside in nature - it is also in the mind.