The Days Of the Child Prodigy Are Over by Wunderkind Collective.

Performed in 2012 at Gruntaler9 in Berlin, Germany.
Sound by Einar Tönsberg. 

In the multidisciplinary performance “The Days of The Child Prodigy Are Over”, the audience is taken on a journey through a world where reality has been slightly upgraded and human achievement has reached new heights. By interweaving expressive imagery and fragmented narrative, Snaebjornsdottir and McMahon explore the idea of the genius and the solitude and absurdity of the human experience.

The notion of prodigy has often been determined through the romantic lens of history. The modern prodigy has gone from being an anomaly to becoming an attainable goal. Parents are now able to buy teaching tools to turn their baby into a genius while it is still in the womb and “gifted” children are born in increasing numbers. The legacy of the modern prodigy might fade faster but notions of genius are far from dead – a genius is born every minute, and if not, it can be created. Genius has been made possible, almost before existence.

In “The Days Of The Child Prodigy Are Over”, the idea of the genius is examined through psychological, social and moral perspectives, using poetry, installation and performance. The work uses the individual experience and theories of absurdism as a reference point; emphasizing the human condition as a mortal one and the conflict/absurdity that arises when an individual searches for meaning in life in a universe he can never understand the inherent meaning of.

The performance is a multi-layered work, existing in a world of its own. It is never interpreted in exactly the same way, each production of the performance pulls out different aspects of this fictional reality. Through visuals and poetry, is told the fragmented story of three main characters; Betus the Fetus is a prenatal child prodigy. Beethoven is a forgotten genius who has disappeared from the public eye. The Mother is a former prodigy who turned to pornography as a relief from outside pressure. She is the remote voice of nostalgia, longing for a world she might never have known but perceives to be lost.

The project was initiated in 2011 by Bergthora Snaebjornsdottir, writer, and Rakel McMahon, visual artist. Collaborators include Anat Eisenberg, Saga Sigurdardottir, Yair Vardi, Einar Tönsberg and Eva Berger.

Interview with Betus the Fetus

Photographs by Yvie Ratzmann