Frequently messages land in our inboxes that get us calculating our frequent flyer points. This week a cluster of perverse pleasures—Sisyphean tasks, songs of pain and loss, haute cuisine and executions, and the “disintegrating spectacle”—lures us to London.
bill viola, frustrated actions and futile gestures
The eloquent video artist Bill Viola will soon be presenting his latest breathtaking creations in London in a major exhibition, Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures, at Blain Southern Gallery. The centre piece is the series The Chapel of Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures (2013) which depicts figures performing repetitive and seemingly futile tasks: digging and re-filling a hole; filling a leaking bowl; dragging a cart up a hill, only to let if roll down again. Complementing these parable-like screen-based works is a diptych—projected onto granite slabs—of an ageing man and woman surveying their naked bodies via torchlight. There will also be works from his Mirage series (2012-13) shot on location in the Mojave Desert and The Dreamers (2013) where Viola returns to the submerged figure, continuing his investigations into the spiritual and the subconscious.
Bill Viola, Frustrated Actions And Futile Gestures, Blain|Southern, London, June 5-27; http://www.blainsouthern.com/gallery-info/london-hanover-square
madam plaza, bouchra ouizguen
||Bouchra Ouizguen's Madam Plaza|
The work of Morrocan-born choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen first came to our attention with her work Ha! presented at Montpellier Danse 2012. Mary Kate Connolly wrote, “What is most delightful about this work is the fact that it surrenders neither to spoof nor to overly earnest posturing. It determines a language of its own, drawn from the body and the characters onstage, which it sticks to without exception.” (RT112
) Ouizguen will be premiering another of her works in London (presented by LIFT), as part of Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture. Madam Plaza features the choreographer along with four aïtas—women who sing “songs of pain, loss and impossible love at (communal) celebrations and nightclubs” (website). These women are equally admired and scorned in Morrocan society. You can see a short preview here
Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture: Madam Plaza, Bouchra Ouizguen’s Company O, presented by LIFT, June 22-July 6; http://shubbak.co.uk/; http://liftfestival.com
trash cuisine, belarus free theatre
||Free Theatre Belarus, Trash Cuisine|
Also presented by LIFT is the Belarus Free Theatre with their new work Trash Cuisine. The company impressed Sydney audiences back in 2009 with Being Harold Pinter of which David Williams wrote, “an utterly riveting, relentlessly paced and forcefully delivered theatrical presentation. Even simple exchanges bristle with menace and acquire accusatory overtones” (RT89
). In Trash Cuisine the company combines the opulence of fine dining with capital punishment. See a chilling segment here
Trash Cuisine, Belarus Free Theatre, presented by LIFT, May 30-June 15, Young Vic, London; www.liftfestival.com
mackenzie wark, the spectacle of disintegration
Australian ex-patriot Mackenzie Wark contributed many provocative articles to RealTime in the 1990s on media art and culture (all of which will soon be available as part our Media Art Archive, launching during ISEA). His latest book, The Spectacle of Disintegration is part two of his research into the Situationists. Here he follows the movement after the 1968 riots, including an in depth look at the film work and early game theories of Guy Debord. According to the press release “Wark builds on their work to map the historical stages of the society of the spectacle, from the diffuse to the integrated to what he calls the disintegrating spectacle” (Verso website). Furtherfield Gallery London will be hosting an afternoon discussion with Wark, introduced by writer/academic Dr Richard Barbrook (Imaginary Futures: From Thinking Machines to the Global Village. (Pluto Press, 2007).
Mackenzie Wark, The Spectacle of Disintegration, May 25, 4pm, Furtherfield Gallery London, http://www.furtherfield.org; www.versobooks.com
RealTime issue #114 April-May 2013 pg. web
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