|Ruth Angel Edwards|
Back in New York for 2 weeks and it feels like I’ve been here for months. One thing that NYC has going is that it is always busy, there are always things to see, places to be and people to meet. Needless to say I’ve been doing and going to a lot of things and absorbing culture, in various ways, to elevate and explore the conditions that make up art and life. Below are a few things that especially caught my eye or made my brain change a bit.
It’s an opera folks. That’s right, an opera. Written, directed and co-produced by Cameron Soren and Melissa Sachs (known also as Body by Body) this approximately hour long play ran for two nights as a commissioned work by Rhizome for Performa15. It takes place in a still used artist’s studio loft at 140 Greene Street and in general terms is about a landlord, a building, and new and old tenants. The incorporation of the artist loft is the storytelling frame in which to sketch out and have reason for interactions between the landlord (Mozart) and the potential new tenant (Lieutenant Captain Colonel Baby Boy). To get to the quick of it, it is absurdist and raucously cliché. I found myself almost hurting from smiling the whole time. It’s not a ‘oh isn’t that nice’ sort of smile but an almost maniacal one full of ironic knowing. It’s funny to a maximal point but that humor is edged with darkness, bitchiness and touches of boredom.
The characters are tropes of themselves, which could have produced a blasé familiarity but instead they shine and carry the opera by their obvious talents. Tomas Cruz, who plays Mozart, is just beyond good and Eliza Bagg, who plays Filomena is a one women talent universe. Their charisma and voices makes you see how far ‘visual’ performance art is from ‘theatre’ and it makes you see how much is lacking in the former.
This was the ah-ha moment for me. After it was over, the full impacts of how effective the piece was as a piece of theatre made you feel the dividing lines between an art show/presentation and a work like this. You can feel the hours spent, the care, the time, and the efforts. There is such an accumulation of parts to make an essentially ephemeral whole and witnessing and watching it is not only impressive but also immersive. This opera cum art piece is active in a way that affects differently then art and that felt amazing and buzzing and I want to see more.
An artist and friend who was in town is a feature editor for this publication along side Alessandro Bava who is the editor and he gave me a copy. Most times when someone gives me a magazine/art publication project or some such thing I skim it and maybe select a few things that catch my eye to read but usually I gloss over them quickly. Art books/magazine and I have never really gotten along. They usually feel too self-aggrandized and cloy to me but this issue of Ecocore grabbed my attention unusually well.
It’s issue number four and is, “The God Issue,” a bit over the top but a bit of dramatics can also be fun. On this theme there are 27 contributors. A lot yes but most fill just a page or so. The theme seems to be a launch pad for loose interpretation, some submissions seem more direct in its associations then others. It’s a bit scattered and the greatest flaw is the quality of the printing, which does no one any favors, but inside there are some very nice things to look at and to read. In particular are the text pieces, which range from dystopian sci-fi, (a too familiar trend these days but here not so off putting), as well as touching back to the ancient and the animal. The predominance of capitalism threads throughout and that being so in an issue about “God” seems a bit vague but I thought that, that is what made it interesting. It’s a type of thing that you can open at any page and start again but it has enough something -perhaps its very nature of being deconstructed- holding it together. It’s good to meander and think about god or whatever else might be on one’s mind and Ecocore promotes that sort of wandering.
This is a music mix by Ruth Angel Edwards that is on DIS and it is a forty-five minute mind fuck. I usually don’t use words like fuck but in this case it is the most apt as it is a mix that incorporates the language of porn with intense dubstep. It calls itself pornstep and when you listen to it you feel your mind being pummeled. It’s aggressive and dark but in a way that detangles and reveals. Listening to it while walking to Bushwick, walking in Soho, walking in the subway, transforms the scene before your eyes into a discomfiting vision and reveal of reality. The moments of unrelenting base mixed with porn sighs makes the gaggle of tourists with Zara bags feel much more sinister then before. Listening to the sound clip of a man proposing a woman to work in the porn industry while selecting a ripe avocado makes your whole body seem out of space.
Edwards is masterful at the edit, the cut, and she seamlessly slices, joins and stacks sound upon sound. In her hands it doesn’t feel like music per se but more a force that can bore into your head and body. The seduction, the violence, the dissociation and the trauma of pornography and of the capitalized body is in this mix transformed to a feeling that pushes through your skin.