Make the Brutal Tender is an ongoing multi-disciplinary project initiated by Eryka Dellenbach in the winter of 2017. Based primarily between Chicago and New York, the work includes site-specific movement research, a notation system, sonic collaborations with Hanna Elliott (HOGG, Goad Deimos), and performance film. MTBT takes inspiration from the visceral, ambivalent forms of sculptor Berlinde de Bruyckere, flamenco dance, industrial music and the writings of Maggie Nelson, from which the project takes its title. Born out of a desire to challenge oversaturated ideas of ‘catharsis’ and violence, MTBT was created to hold space for the practice of cultivating a relationship with different physical and psychological thresholds related to tenderness, aggression and the feminine ‘brute’. Relationships between female-identifying individuals are at the heart of the project, although male-identifying people and non-human entities contribute significantly to research.
Make the Brutal Tender will premiere at the Power Ouch performance festival in Chicago in conjunction with Links Hall’s 40th Anniversary and the In<Time 2019 festival in February 2019, after long-distance and long-form efforts spanning over a year.