MR Festival 2008: humansacrifice presents reverse futility in the immediate landscape by Biba Bell

by Biba Bell
MR Festival Spring 2008: Somewhere Out There

My mom called me as I walked to Judson. My sister brought her to the Dance for Music program curated by Chris Peck, but as a classical pianist the acoustic temperament of the musicians and various instrumentations, along with the particular resonant chamber of Judson’s gym, had forced her to sit outside on the steps. Even this was too loud for her. Apparently the music did take the first priority of the event. Nonetheless I arrived around 10pm and people where scattered on the sidewalk, stairway and inside the gym, talking, mingling, drinking beers, etc. It was difficult to tell who was going in or out, what was beginning or ending. Music was being played as a post-show/pre-show addition, and the seamless transition between events made me wonder how to parse artists, audience, pieces, works, etc. The jumbling continued.

The Judson gym was strewn with clothes, masks, toys, racks of folding chairs, mic-stands, amps and people wandering drinking, looking at one another. The mess of stuff in the center was Mahalchick’s vamp enticing bystanders to lie down and wiggle through the objects, seeing what might attach to an arm or leg, deliberating various personas in the wake. A man gave me a huge fake flower. I put it in my ponytail.

One corner of the room had these incredible, post-psychedelia projections up on the wall. A man and woman vocalized and played instruments, undaunted by the roaming crowds and infiltrating performers.

The space invited a wandering audience. We mingled and talked, watched and gaped. A man in a blue suit was lying under all the stuff in the middle of the room. He remained there until after I left, until after the event was supposedly (?) over. Another woman played in and out of the pile, she was playing instruments, smiling, and constantly arriving at what appeared to be a quirky moment. Her solo was wound and unwound through the simultaneous activities within the immediate landscape. As I wandered stepping over cords, chairs and legs of the people sitting down my gaze dispersed between movements, sounds, words and general conversational interaction. The event, though potentially a group of disparate piece, was routing these works into an amalgamated experience, where people seemed to roam in and take center stage — here and there a performance would crystallize.

People called for Paige, she was in a long white dress watching and mingling, picking up pieces to clear the floor. Suddenly three women ran into the mix, hair and breasts, thongs and heels, tattoos and lipstick. They threw up their arms and danced together, unison and in a circle. The spectacle barraged the audience who was caught, stopped, silent and still, they watched. This immediate landscape stirred up the angst of futility, it kicked hard and twisted its hips and in a jubilant release, set us off and back into the night.

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