Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I’ve been lucky enough to witness some amazing crossroads between art, music and performance recently in London.
The interactive performance of Faust at a warehouse in Wapping has to be one of the most extraordinary experiences that I’ve had recently. This re-enactment of the classic story of man's pact with the devil took place on four floors of a warehouse, wherein you adorned a mask on entering and were took into a lift. The lift operator then chucked out people on different floors one by one, after which you were left to explore the different floors, each themed after the play. 210 different rooms were styled after the play, including one styled as a laboratory with an actor as Faust the alchemist muttering to himself and wondering around with pots, vials of liquid, and papyrus everywhere; another with a 50’s themed American diner; another involving bedrooms and parlours; another one with leaves at your feet and bamboo hut walls; and a plush cinema. Meanwhile, maskless actors flitted about between the rooms acting out the roles, so that at times you would literally be standing right next to them as they recited the lines and acted out the parts of the play. Whoever set up the design and layout of the different rooms did so pretty meticulously, with a million things to explore. A pretty amazing experience all round, which included a floor with fauna and another with dark, winding, endless book cases, where you were literally walking around on your own in darkness.
The other two exhibitions that have came close recently are this one off Brick Lane, in which household appliances, used washing machines and general home appliance detritus took central stage in a huge factory. Walking around it felt like something from Tetsuo: The Iron Body Man, particularly when you could go inside a defunct freezer, which led down to a tunnel.
Finally, the performance of Ray Lee’s Sound Bites at Shunt, the huge, cavernous rail arches next to London Bridge station, in which revolving red lights mounted on plinths circled around at different speed. Walking around these plinths in darkness, all you could see was the lights, set to a swirl of freeform, ambient music, oscilltaing at speed like mini planets orbiting the Sun, with everything else blottled out. It’s now on Kinetica galleries too. Pretty amazing stuff.
Next up is Gilbert & George at the Tate Modern.