Upstairs Geology 50/50

Duration: 40min in the evening & Ongoing Installation in the daylight

Premere: August 2019, Zürcher Theatrespektakel, Switzerland

Winner of the ZKB Acknowledgment Prize 2019

My reclaimed word for the 21st century is Liquid. UPSTAIRS GEOLOGY is a continuous commitment to performative manifestations on, with and about Liquids.


A theatrical universe, a cosmology created through the use of thickened and coloured water, ropes, pumps, and soundscapes in constellation with gravity, various weather conditions,  sunlight, snow, rain, bacterial strand Xanthomonas Campestris and sometimes people.

UPG is an attempt to de-centralise humans in performance.


This commitment for me is spending time with the metaphors of floods and natural disasters, with the long tradition of repressing and taming the uncontrollable emanations of a body – its sounds, smells, mucus – with a hysterical will to control and solidify borders, to qualify “leakages” as clean or dirty on a binary scientific scale. In this constructed cosmology human biological (more often female than male) liquids- such as urine, breast milk, ejaculate, vaginal lubrication – are often equated with the notion of a leaking planet with its torrential rains, melting ice, and disturbed oceanic currents.


It is me thinking out loud and performatively that my materials, my books, events of my life are also working- thinking and creating with me. This thought allows me to imagine that it is not only humans that are part of my process. Similarly, it allows me to conceive my audience consisting of not only human beings but also objects, flows of air, gusts of winds coming through the open windows – they perform and they watch.



“Ira Melkonyan & the rubberbodies collective show the effects of non-human behavior and question the assignment of authorship in the theater. This performative installation is an outstanding example of a political work of art. It does not “explain” nature, but invites us to follow the transformation of a leaky landscape and to experience it – with all its risks.”

Here is the full Jury speech about the piece.

Created by Ira Melkonyan and Jimmy Grima
Dominykas Savickas
Irene Sorozabal Moreno
Maria Rößler

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