Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Thu 10 Mar
Simultaneously confronting and confounding, Atlanta Eke has crafted a performance full of visceral imagery and sound, but its provocations stack upon one another with ultimately mixed results.
Billed as ‘dance meets performance art,’ Body Of Work largely sidesteps these expectations, relying instead on video and audio looping to alternately mesmerise and terrorise the audience. Two projection screens are employed to display live camera loops of the movements and poses that Eke acts out in front of the camera. As the camera is pointed at one of the screens its image is projected upon, it creates a double mirror effect that is used in a number of interesting ways, ranging from the benign to the horrific.
The mechanics of the process are a bit disjointed, though, in that watching Eke set up the looped images is kind of like watching a musician set up audio loops, only when a musician does it, you eventually get a song. Eke also operates her own camera, which requires her to repeatedly pause in the middle of the performance and walk up to the camera, re-position it, and reinitiate the looping process.
The live score is oppressively loud at times, yet only sparsely musical. At one point, it’s the sound of a drumstick being dropped against a snare drum with an echo effect making the hits rattle on and on. Another motif resembles a convergence of the themes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the James Bond films if they were composed for a video game in 1993.
This is all without getting into the entrance Eke makes, which can be summed up by the words, ‘Cushion Monster.’
The overall impact is that of being poked and prodded, lulled and then shocked with imagery that is its own end, leaving the audience too much of the heavy lifting in discerning meaning out of it all.
Body Of Work continues at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 6pm through Sat 12 Mar.
Book at BASS and adelaidefestival.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Gregory Lorenzutti