Sex and Death Party

This is the first party we've hosted for a while. On many levels, it was an experiment. Natalia and I were both nervous. Over several hours we created a sensual, beautiful space in our home with candles and hanging bamboo and translucent fabrics. Our close friend, Alien, who is sometimes mistaken for a teddy bear, generously offered to hang blindfolded in suspension for the duration of the party so as to be a reminder of death and/or execution. 


I chose to wear a simple white dress, which I later realised was an unconscious invitation to be a sacrificial victim. Not surprisingly, I found a torturer/executioner. It was probably the first time I have allowed myself to be so vulnerable in a party I have hosted.

Of course the central aspect of the party was the death knell, which began to ring regularly every half an hour from 11pm. A name was pulled out of a hat and a participant had to leave, which created great theatrical tension and intensity. It was thought-provoking that each time a person 'died', they did so almost silently and without a fuss. Submissively you might even say, as if no-one wanted to lose face before the others or before death. 

Before we began, I requested that we have a group discussion, so people could share a little about how they were feeling and what their expectations for the party were. This is rarely done at a play party, but I believe it is extremely useful to make a safer atmosphere. Each participant has then some idea where the others are at and may respond to it. I stole the idea from David Bloom, who I does this to great effect in his parties in Berlin.

I knew that some people were turned off from coming to the party by virtue of not wanting to be told to leave. I really get that. In fact, the concept of the party comes from Schwelle7 in Berlin, where it is called the 'Existence' party. When I first heard about it, I imagined it was a real power trip on the part of Felix or whoever played the role of God, who would tell people to leave whenever they felt like it. Indeed, this is partly true. Even though names were pulled out of a hat, just having the role of pulling a name out of the hat, (even if the name might be yours), having all eyes on you, was a great feeling of power. It was a great feeling of power, but at the same time a great feeling of vulnerability, knowing the very next moment all your power may be taken away from you. And you have to go, and the party will go on without you. People--including those closest to you--will continue to do what they are doing and in some measure forget about you. And you'll be alone.

I guess this was the most important experience that the party gave to me: this tension between extreme vulnerability and power.

I guess the idea also was to give permission to people to make the most of their time - to really go for what they wanted, because they may have to leave at any moment. J., for example, clearly got that and plucked up the courage to ask for something he really wanted. Unfortunately, someone intervened - and this didn't exactly happen. And he is left to ponder that. If we were to do the party again, (and I think we will), I think we will emphasize this aspect. To encourage people to really use the time and circumstances of the party to go for who and what they most want. Or at least to ask themselves the question.

Emma Michelle suggested on leaving that maybe next time it would be good to set the death knell up to go off randomly. And to begin earlier. I was also curious about the after-departure experiences of people, how this felt? What happened? Did they also forget?

I was delighted that at a certain moment of the party after there had been some departures people stopped playing and started to reflect on their own deaths. What does it mean? Are we afraid? Do we long for it? What will be its effect on others? 

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