Interested in scheduling a performance? Click Here

How does one confront a faltering sense of language? Especially when that language is created within the space of Madness.

L (OA) ST Is a video based poetry performance. During this work, Matt Bodett utilizes an App designed for DJ’s but replaced with sounds and words. These recordings are played live during the video performance.

This poem was performed live (online) as a part of the Quarantine Concerts, hosted by Experimental Sound Studio, on July 16th 2020.

The foundational structure of TWELVE utilizes the form of buddhist koans in collaboration with the Greek mythology of Herakles. Upset by the infidelity of her husband, Hera sent Madness to curse the life of Herakles, the illegitimate son of Zeus and Alcmene. Under the veil of Madness Herakles slew his children and wife, Megara. Upon waking from the spell he was distraught and sought penitence for his actions. It is this point of the myth that I insert the actions of TWELVE.

A koan is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment. In this case the koan acts as the mediator between the experience of mental illness and the inability to logically define its parameters.

Herakles had to complete twelve labors, as defined by the Oracle at Delphi, Apollo, and Eurystheus. The twelve performative actions/koansclarify/confound the role of penitence in healing, the role of forgiveness toward a system which minimizes those who suffer with mental illnesses, and the role of language as a post-literate understanding of communication.

  1. Welcome Mat
  2. Semblence
  3. Monu Mental
  4. Seen
  5. Poems to be Seen
  6. Seeking Asylum
  7. Relief
  8. One Hour
  9. Is:si  ng
  10. Edge/sharp mined
  11. What I learned about Healing
  12. On translation

“TWELVE: a series of performative koans” was first designed during a residency hosted by Bodies of Work and UIC, and funded by 3Arts. The original set of performances took place over a two month span of time during the Fall of 2017 in various cultural institutions throughout Chicago. These include the Poetry Foundation, Steppenwolf Theater, Victory Gardens, and INTUIT: Center for intuitive and outsider art.

A second iteration of the performances were completed in the fall of 2019 at the No Limits Festival in Berlin. The performances were condensed becoming a durational performance that spanned ten hours. Theater Thikwa hosted my Twelve performances. 

This series of three performances investigate violence toward psychiatric inmates, suicide, hallucinations, and the role of psychopharmacology in containing Madness. This series draws on the words of; Bertram Hiscock, a psychiatirc inmate who did not survive his confinement; Shakespeare’s Hamlet; and the text from prescription documentation. 

This series debuted in the Fall of 2018 as a part of a residency with High Concept Laboratories in Chicago. 

A catalogue for this group of performances was printed in an edition of 200. 

Essays by Courtney Graham and Sasha Durakov accompany an essay by Matt Bodett and reproductions of artworks. 




Developed while a year long incubator artist at High Concept Laboratories, this performance was shared as a part of VAE Raleigh’s exhibition ” Full Light of Day”

Utilizing contemporary psychiatric intake forms and questions from the trial of Joan of Arc I question personal experiences when confronted with mental health while also challenging the categorization of mental health. 

Honor the act of Seeing
Attention as the Creative Act
Realize Self and Other as one
Affirm Life
Be Generous
Honor the Body
Explore the intimacy of all things