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Fia Backström: herd Instinct: 360 Degree Celsius

- Introductory narration - performance by Fia Backström
- Talk by Jan Verwoert, followed by a screening of his project.

HERD INSTINCT 360° (2006), a staged situation with sacred undertones, including lectures, performances and communal intake, where the other side of human collective behavior, in society at large as well as in the art-world, is investigated. On Sunday October 7th, Backström will enact her performance HERD INSTINCT 360° followed by a talk and screening of a project by writer Jan Verwoert.

Cult action, group therapy, corporate brain washed consumer combatants. Together we feel good. Crowd behavior: removing the inhibitions of the individual, no personal responsibility. Yet community is pressure. HERD INSTINCT 360° is an invitation to a group of people to be, see, discuss, and listen to talks about community.

Community - the formerly functional organization of people into pockets of activity, the dead end possibility of the communist collective manifestations in Russia and China, the unspecific and affirming notions of community some works of art rest upon, the increasing sophistication of corporate communal behavior and outreach, the Hippie yearnings for a return to the primal gathering, the exclusive clubs building a 'We-They identity' paving the way for local and global gated communities, the projection of inherent goodness and empowerment from 'productive get-togethers', from the tiniest family unit to the nationalistic one, the pretense of equality. What was to stir action now makes stale.

Let's have negative group expectations? Yet what experience can be outside of it? Community as communication as co-appearance - Stay Connected.

/Fia Backström

HERD INSTINCT 360° is both a performance and a series of gatherings, which originally were set up during three Sunday afternoons in New York 2005-2006, where a theatrical situation was staged with sacred undertones, in a constructed environment including lectures, performances and communal intake. In HERD INSTINCT 360°, the problematic sides of human collective behavior are investigated, in the art world as well as in society at large, spanning topics such as cult mentality, corporate action and faux activism. The performance addresses group dynamics from mass-psychosis to totalitarian gatherings, including case studies of people's susceptibility to group think, whether inspired by Malcolm X or Microsoft. Rather than addressing in-the-news issues, HERD INSTINCT 360°, poses skeptical questions about the aspirations for and the very concept of group behavior, whether in the macrocosmic forms of wars, politics movements and global markets, of which the art industry is one; or in the microcosmic form of artists' communities, collaboratives and collectives.

Fia Backström

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