quarta-feira, 26 de março de 2014

Glitter is a bitch's best friend

---------- Critical Writing about “Keep it real” by Pedro Costa --------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A few months ago I saw the work "Keep it real" by artist Sergiu Matiș at the SODA Research Showings at Uferstudios in Berlin. I decided to write about his performance because it attracted my sense of desire and aroused my curiosity, jolting me from the passive position of audience member. The break with the conventional theatrical scene, where the "fourth wall" reigns, happens in the first interpellation from Matiș: "Welcome, bitches!". We, the audience, are clearly thrown into a non-passive game for the show. The artist makes of us a piece of the Miscegenation. He makes us his bitches. This is the purpose of "The Bitch Manifesto", as the work is also titled. He uses the word "bitch", which is loaded with abjections, to transform the world. Thus, he changes us into subjects, no longer submissive to a violent ideology, but instead, as politically empowered beings. I always considered of fundamental importance to know the life story of the artist, because I believe that critique and body are always connected in performance. The subject is implicated in the act, even in its own subtext, or its veiled biography. It is impossible to conceal one's biography in the choices of scenic elements. In this case, it is a work of power play. The subaltern speaks. Matiș is an artist from Romania, Eastern Europe. His geo-political biography points to a post-socialist artist. A queer and feminist artist. In order to build the dramaturgy in his work, he uses the essay "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" by Donna Haraway. Thus, he presents us a fictional-political work, ironically composed to destabilize the capitalist system and a centralized art market. In his act, we find empowered bodies: a bio-female body, a post-socialist body, a black body, and cyborg bodies posed as a proposition of the anthropological conflict between "nature" and "culture." They are as satisfying and disturbing as the choreography itself. Cyborgs are put in a metaphysical field, in the power struggles and in the struggles to deconstruct patriarchal power. The cyborg body as transgressed boundary, possessing dangerous political possibilities. The bodies mingled with the use of media and contemporary dance. They utilized choreographed repetition of movement, as much as the repetition of video clips from MTV (Music Television), which contaminated a whole generation. In the choreography, reproduction and repetition were used in order to reach a technically perfect movement. A double critique was then revealed: of dance, and of industrial society. Or would be of a dance, whose structure is influenced by industrial society? The work is a fiction, and acts in this sphere. We are bitches, our pleasure. And a bitch worth his/her salt needs a moment of glamor. The glamor is power! Under the spotlight, throwing silver glitter against the ventilator fan, a parody is established with the merged scenes of Marilyn Monroe's skirt blowing in the wind in the film "The Seven Year Itch" (directed by Billy Wilder, 1955) and of a diamond being offered to her in the musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (directed by Howard Hawks, 1953). The glitter (or diamonds?) fly in the direction of the bitches in Matiș' act. It is an excess of glitter that contaminates everyone, including us and the performance space. At the end of the performance, as Matiș reads us a text, he reveals that silver glitter represented the transformation of bodies into cyborgs bodies. But according to Haraway’s text, the bodies would already be cyborgs in Matiș' choreographic propositions. To me, the glitter inferred a Camp aesthetic, and according to Gregory Woods, contemporary queer culture inherited the structures and strategies of Camp. It is indisputable however, that while immersed in the allure of glitter, Matiș' final choreography also proved extremely interesting: it created a likeness to worms crawling in glitter! Animalistic bodies, glamorous vermin, necessary to the capitalist system: the bitchies! In conclusion, I would like to note that I titled this text "Glitter is a bitch's best friend" as a parodia povera, free and politically engaged in relation to the phrase "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" to demonstrate the critique of capitalism that Matiș' work brings. Silver glitter sparkling like diamonds. Diamonds as the capitalist glamor, patriarchal and heteronormative. Silver glitter as trick, the glamour of the poor, anti-patriarchal, queer. The work is efficient at criticizing the glamorous character of the capitalist system via the use of irony as a strategy which Haraway uses in her text to destabilize the classic scenes of dance choreography and the comfortable and passive place of the audience. Nevertheless, the bodies in the performance are seemingly normative bodies. They function with the structure of classical ballet. But their subjectivities, biographies and fictions reveal another side! This dichotomy indicates the vertigo in post-humanism. These bodies reveal the mirage of translations, the noise of desires. After all, "Are my Adidas shoes going to walk me into trouble?" ----------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Keep it real”, with: Maria Walser, Corey Scott-Gilbert, Sergiu Matiș. Dramaturgy: Mila Pavicevic. Produced by: HZT/UDK Berlin, MA SODA & Uferstudios Berlin –-- Dezember 2013