Part of Fall 2008 - A Lower World
The title To See the Enormous Night Arise comes from Naufús Ramirez-Figueroa’s performance, in which he embodies celestial properties by referencing the Panoptes (monster of a hundred eyes) from Greek mythology. He painstakingly fastens eyes all over his naked form, creating a night sky full of twinkling stars on his flesh. In this act he delicately fuses the abject with the heavenly, demonstrating elevation from base beginnings. Irene Loughlin’s Rich presents us with the reverse, a decline of sorts as her body and identity become entrapped, weighed down by a complex array of materials to be consumed, some consuming her. There is something beautiful that happens as we watch her adorned in flowers, gold paint and fashion, succumbing like a star about to supernova. The weight and pressure of gender identity explodes in Gale Allen’s Must be the colours and the kids that keep me alive. Referencing the tradition of burlesque that saw women as performers in “lowbrow” entertainment, she re-asserts the presence of women in an era where ubiquitous reality TV programming worships the male “Jackass,” creating a volatile performance by acknowledging and distrupting this continuum. The limits of gender also informs the queer work of Mikiki, who deals with public health, sex and art in relation to identity construction. Mikiki uses strategies of endurance and pain, exploring the abject through actions that channel this instability of identity. The four artists performing tonight seek the stars as their bodies explode, pushing the limits of the flesh and the forces that seek to keep them defined.