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birth rites by vote

tony reck participates in emergent new media performance


Synarcade Audio-Visuals, Emergence Synarcade Audio-Visuals, Emergence
THE PROCESS OF LABOUR IS LONG, AND SO IT IS THAT EMERGENCE (PRODUCED BY SYDNEY'S SYNARCADE AUDIO-VISUALS) BEGINS NOT AT THE NORTH MELBOURNE TOWN HALL BUT ON THE INTERNET AT MY HOME IN RICHMOND. LOGGING ON TO WWW.BULDYOUROWNBEING.COM I’M ASKED WHICH PERSONALITY TRAIT I WOULD LIKE TO INSTILL IN MY YET TO BE CONCEIVED OFFSPRING.

Later that night, when the performance proper is about to begin, I’m standing in a hi-tech operating theatre surrounded by four screens and a sound system emitting a mesothelial rasp and throbbing gristle. I see the personality trait I chose earlier imprinted on one of the screens: "Walk the Talk Between Eros and Thanatos" says more about me than my bouncing bubba. Having endowed my child with such a precarious awareness I’m reminded of an obsessive father at an Under 9’s football match. Oh the joys of parenting. Thank god I can disavow any responsibility in that area.

Back inside the operating theatre, I’m wearing a fluorescent green halo and feeling like a cross between Astro Boy and Victor Frankenstein. Luckily, 30 other patrons have their heads adorned in the same luminous loop. Above and to my right, a cocoon shaped head projected upon an oval screen implores me not to remove my halo, as it is part of a universal tracking system. Our offspring, appropriately named RAM, will be shaped by our wants, needs, passions and eccentricities. We will vote for characteristics such as ‘Cooperative’ and ‘More Individualistic.' Our responses will be monitored via our halos, fed into the universal tracking system, then recorded percentage-wise and used to shape the personality of RAM.

We skip from screen to screen, voting with our feet. There is some tantrum throwing among the audience as each tries to persuade the ‘Swinging Voter’ that RAM should become ‘Completely Honest’ or “More Critical.' One woman claims there resides amongst us a phallocentric tendril of conspiratorial males hellbent on control of RAM’S development. She’s probably right, for RAM is regressing into childish episodes of chest beating and thumb sucking by the minute. Swept by moments of cheap sentimentality, our monstrous metrosexual has become a being in need of quiet resolution. So, after a second governmental intervention, RAM, as we have created him, is simply discontinued, replaced by a feminised version named Zye who slides down a birth canal and pops out a slit hidden in a screen. Standing on a plinth before us, Zye wants us to help set her free. Beset by the mindless principle of consumer class Individualism, we offer her all the assistance she needs. Some members of the audience even prompt Zye to ‘Find her own path’ and ‘Discover who she really is.' The perils of parenting, it would seem, are irresistible.

Synarcade's Emergence is a sly take on the very human desire to control the lives of others, without realising that the monster residing within has been unleashed and our ‘Inner Tyrant’ set free.


Synarcade Audio-Visuals, Emergence: Build Your Own Being, writer, director Mark Bolotin, performers Nick Currow, Lindsay Farris, Anna-lea Russo, Nicole da Silva, Gary Boulter, Richard Cartwright, multi media production Synarcadia; Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, Sep18 - 23; www.buildyourownbeing.com

RealTime issue #82 Dec-Jan 2007 pg. online

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