Is that guy with a long fake braid making out with himself in the mirror? And those two… do they really lift a table with their teeth? It’s been only a week since the Abramovic Method performance but El Centro de Experimentación, the space it was held in, has changed beyond recognition morphing from the area for “contemplative practices” into a terrific post-apocalyptic glam world populated by beautiful people doing ugly things. To enter, one has to walk along a wooden board, which is not in itself a particularly weird thing to do… it’s not like there are people lying under it or anything.
The simple act of being present in the room, transforms the viewer automatically into voyeuristic participants, making them part of this mass torture slash poignant absurdist interpretation of the myth of Sisyphus. A half-naked drag-ballet dancer trembling from the cold makes her vacillating pas. Another performer throws herself against the wall while two girls in business suits cover the face of a guy with something brown (I am resolute in my sincere hope that it was dulce de leche).
Tongues, saliva, flesh, hair, naked bodies, – physiology aggressively invades the space, it’s everywhere you look; it’s in a hard-boiled air. This collective madness has a name, Under De Si, the performance directed by Diego Bianchi and Luis Garay. Comparing it with a boxing ring, the organizers explain that the performance explores the relationship between human bodies and merchandise:
‘in a flat space, with no center, numerous performers repeat different behaviors at the same time, as rituals of daily life taken to an extreme of deformity: they seek to resist, adapt and overadapt to an unstable system’.
It produces a strong, viscerally contradictory impression upon the audience; people are walking around trying to hide their confusion and shock. It’s like finding yourself in a circus dressing room after the show: all the clowns are drunk, tired acrobats feverishly sniff cocaine and a bearded woman blows a midget. The music being played also seems to serve the same goal, provoking anxiety attacks. When you feel like you have had enough and cannot sustain this hell any longer, all of a sudden a waiter in a ripped shirt offers you a vodka shot. The music changes into some groovy beats, the performers recover from their catatonic stupor and start dancing as if they were real people not a merchandise. They seem to forget about the cold and pain. They do what they need to, independent of how they feel because no matter what happens show must go on.
The second week of Biennale broke the meditative silence of the previous festival days. It inaugurated a new era, the era of language (or maybe a tongue?). If Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to the body language of provocative Under De Si, the weekend was given to The Language of The Future spoken by winsome prophet Laurie Anderson.
On Sunday the artist also met with the audience in Parque de La Memoria. In the public discussion held by Pablo Schanton Laurie applied her considerations about the concept of the collective memory, made the audience laugh until they cried with her stories (like the one about a concert for dogs she organized in Sydney) and shared her secret three rules of life: 1. Not to be afraid of anyone 2. To get a good bullshit detector and learn how to use it and 3. To be tender. Consensus may have been missing over the first two rules, but she definitely taught a good lesson tenderness. There was not a single soul who left the room in a bad mood; everyone was smiling… almost gratefully (if that makes sense).
This week will be connected with such new names as Gabriel Baggio, Fernando Rubio and Rodrigo Alonso. Don’t forget about the parallel program of workshops that also runs in the different parts of the city.