Performance theatre that is good for your body
Reviewed at a secret location on 2 March 2019
Presented by Adelaide Festival
Forget Lush and L’Occitane – get ready to clean off the stains of first-world guilt with Schuldfabrik, a new combination of beauty, hygiene and moral good designed to cleanse both your body and your soul.
Schuldfabrik provides a ‘Human Soap’ made from people for people, through the upcycling of human fat removed via the plastic surgery procedure of liposuction (which some would call a first-world indulgence). When breaking down the title, the German term ‘schuld’ suggests both ‘guilt’ as a moral duty and ‘debt’ as an economic obligation. Taking the idea a step further has seen the creation of an interactive and immersive ‘factory tour’ – a theatrical behind-the-scenes look at the key components (both physical and moral) that come together to form these unique bars of Human Soap.
Leaving from the Schuldfabrik shopfront on King William Road, you are guided to a mysterious separate location where you are left to await further instruction in a small room, reminiscent of an old-school dentist’s waiting room. From here you experience a series of rooms, each serving a different purpose within the creative process of the ‘Human Soap’. Your experiences range from a form of unusual Chinese whispers passing through a row of confessionals to witnessing a strange performance of dancing soap suds, and a confronting look at the process of liposuction as fat is removed from the body.
Every purchase of a bar of soap does a bit of good with sale proceeds going towards helping create wells in a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as a bar of ‘Human soap’ being donated to provide an element of hygiene. You can still buy these ‘SELF’ soaps from the shopfront (where the tour begins) without partaking in the ‘factory tour’, however immersing yourself in the work and ideology behind Schuldfabrik makes the purchase all the more meaningful and is highly recommended.
The imaginative creator and director behind Schuldfabrik, and its ‘factory tour’, is German-born performance maker, musician and visual artist, Julian Hetzel. After studying visual communication at the Bauhaus University, he then graduated from Amsterdam’s DasArts – an artistic research laboratory for new forms of theatre and performing arts. Now based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, Hetzel is the artistic director behind the Utretch-based foundation Ism & Heit, is an associated artist at Kunstencentrum CAMPO Gent and is also the founding member of electro-pop band Pentatones.
A totally unique experience within the 2019 Adelaide Festival, Schuldfabrik explores first-world guilt and how it can be remedied to provide a positive result for those in need while creating a distinctive artistic process and product which you can actually take home with you.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: 29 King William Street
Season: 1 – 17 March 2019
Duration: 60 mins