info I contact
advertising
editorial schedule
acknowledgements
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter
donate

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive

contents

  
Fuguestate, Jason Maling & Joseph Giovinazzo Fuguestate, Jason Maling & Joseph Giovinazzo
photo tmphoto.co
HAVING LIVED IN THE MELBOURNE SUBURB OF COLLINGWOOD FOR ALMOST A LIFETIME, I AM SUBCONSCIOUSLY AWARE THAT FUGUESTATE WILL BE PERFORMED ON GIPPS STREET AT THE UNITED MASONIC TEMPLE.

A woman wearing a ritualistic tailcoat greets me at the entrance. Together, we step through a hall and enter an antechamber. Black and white photographs from the early 20th century occupy measured space on tar-stained walls. But the equilibrium of ancient imagery is sabotaged by the inclusion of several closed circuit screens. A Dali-esque clock appears on one screen, and intermittent shadows across its face betray the presence of others passing through some hidden mausoleum.

A man approaches me as if he has known me all my life. He invites me to sit at a table that might have been constructed purely for letter writing. He disappears, then returns with a glass of port and a sheet of paper that details the widely reported 2005 discovery of ‘The Piano Man.’ I read on, hoping the liquor provided will fortify me against this tale of a fellow found wandering along a road on the English Isle of Sheppey.

Fuguestate, Jason Maling & Joseph Giovinazzo Fuguestate, Jason Maling & Joseph Giovinazzo
photo tmphoto.co
The port achieves its stated aim and lodges an ember in my belly. But this report of a speechless man who, when provided with a piano played melancholy versions of Swan Lake, disturbs my thinking. Is it a media myth or an actual case of a gifted person requiring treatment for a personality disorder? It is impossible to tell, but the cynic within conspires toward the circus surrounding Australian pianist David Helfgott. Some employed in the media will do anything to make a buck. Then again, adopting the role of urban mythographer is preferable to hacking the phone of a murdered English teenager.

Then I too am fitted out in tailcoat, white gloves and a set of headphones jacked into a book with an esoteric sign embossed on its cover. The aforementioned man opens a door and invites me to explore a hidden recess. Inside, empty chairs placed in methodical rows remain attentive before a decrepit portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. There are others inside this ballroom, also wearing tailcoats, gloves and headphones. We wander together, as if condemned to immolate within a purgatory bereft of defining terms.

I exit this room and enter another. It’s a kitchen and I do declare that the multitude of cucumber sandwiches once prepared across its steel benches are present in spirit, if not vanquished by time and hungry Freemasonry. Emanating from my earphones is what I believe to be an atonal composition that competes with itself in the attainment of some transcendental plane. It’s a fugue, of course; and the title of this performance thumps between my ears as I now believe myself to be in composition with a world that previously had been limited to subtle winks and shifty handshakes.

Fuguestate, Jason Maling & Joseph Giovinazzo Fuguestate, Jason Maling & Joseph Giovinazzo
photo tmphoto.co
I venture further, into a dusty hollow. There, again, is another man who has known me all my life. This time, he takes the shape of a decaying skeleton resting inside a miniature coffin. The detail is remarkable, but so is the magic of human deception. In fugue with life as in death, we compete with ourselves in defiance of some final retribution. Our time will come, my friends, and in the end there will be nothing but the sad monument of death illuminating a lifetime of wasted dreams.


Fuguestate, conceptual realisation Jason Mailing, Joseph Giovinazzo,
drawing, photography, production design Jason Mailing,
musical composition, audio technology Cake Industries (Jesse Stevens & Dean Petersen), production Joseph Giovinazzo, producer Ann Schoo, book construction Gene Hedley, Cake Industries, United Masonic Temple, Melbourne, April 16-29; http://www.fuguestate.info/

This article originally appeared as part of RealTime's online e-dition May 8

RealTime issue #109 June-July 2012 pg. 28

© Tony Reck; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

Back to top