Yvette Ofa Agapow
Artist Interview. June 30, 2021.
Credit Marek Rygielski
"An easy way to describe my work is acoustic noise music. I like abrasive sound and complex layers. Acoustic implements that generate sound without my intervention are a favourite, lately I've been exploring the use of vibrators placed on various drums. It creates a lot of really interesting internal rhythms and a really strong visual element."
Beginnings of a piece
"I'm not always comfortable with very direct communication about feelings, but it feels very natural for me to abstract them through performance alongside the absurdist element.
A lot of my performances are 100% me just sitting in bed thinking about what I'm gonna do and then I wake up on the day, collect all my instruments, put them out, and play for the first time when the gig starts. It's never rehearsed, all of the sounds I make are completely improvised."
Interest in experimentalism
"I've always been drawn towards weird, subversive things. Even when I was young I had strong interest in strange media and different bugs.
When I became a teenager it became more artsy. I remember watching a Vimeo performance art piece where someone is masturbating under floorboards in an art exhibit while people are walking over them.
I just get bored of people telling the same stories over and over. I get frustrated with wider society's complicity in not questioning or not exploring things."
Vibrators in a musical context
"On one level, they are just the easiest and cheapest noise making implements. I've tried using other things in their place but they don't give the same impression. The vibrators just make a lot of noise.
Another layer is that I find the concept of sex itself almost funny sometimes, like I'm using vibrating dildos in this really serious setting in a musical context as a tool for emotional communication.
There's also a third layer in which people are watching me play with these sex toys on stage. As time goes on I'm finding myself more subscribing to the idea that every interaction is sort of a weird covert sex act which I think is really intriguing to think about."
"I use performance to work things out in my mind like my relationship to to trauma, gender identity or sex. Sometimes I can't cognise something until I sit down and think about how I would communicate the concepts abstractly through performance.
My performances let the audience in just enough while also maintaining a veil of anonymity, keeping my feelings protected while communicating what I feel is the essence of the piece."