The Spelling and the Spell of Dying Men is a performance exploring relations between the Christian martyr Saint Sebastian, and the writer Yukio Mishima. In the autobiographical novel Confessions of a Mask the writer describes an erotic encounter with a reproduction of a painting of the saint. Sebastian is depicted in his most famous pose, arms above his head, one over the other, tied to a tree, and pierced by arrows. This ekphrastic scene works as a point of departure in the performance, it is expanded on through text, sound and still and moving image. Textual and physical transformation, the aspect of becoming through language and image becomes a core theme. The performance presents readings of links between the writer and the saint, elaborating on aspects of surface, heroic death, the act of writing masculinity, and the literary conjuring of men.
Below: Documentation by Hanna Wildow, from the PitchWise festival in Sarajevo, 2011.