notes from the otherworld

TBA 2011: Zoe | Juniper

The Seattle dance company’s A Crack In Everything Exposed made an indelible impression on multidisciplinary artist and Culturephile correspondent Kat Seale. She describes the surreal scene.

By Anne Adams September 27, 2011

Adorned with white paper booties, I stepped into the alternative world of the Zoe/ Juniper installation: a world brimming beauty, juxtaposed with momentous fits of passion and pain. Upon entering, a man is seated at a white table, his hairless body covered in a paste of white, his chest gilded metallic silver. He’s playing “five-finger fillet” with a large spike, hammering it between his splayed fingers, each strike of the rhythm an implied risk. He misses, and a glimmering red bead of blood gathers on his finger, standing out as a visceral variation of the minimalist composition of the room.

The narrow walls are lined with white paper, projections, and strands of red yarn. An ornate arabesque silver platter sits to the man’s left containing a foreign substance that resembles translucent spheres of egg yolk. Accompanied by strains of minimalist cello, a row of performers forms a straight line in front of the man with the spike, patiently waiting for a turn to play. Slowly, each takes a turn with the knife game while our main character looks on blankly. As each member of the entourage moves forward in line, the tempo of movement becomes more rapid, until all patience is exhausted and the once-orderly group begins violently pushing and shoving each other in an attempt to arrogate the spike.

Shaking off his distant stare, the main character grips the left hand of the girl who has managed to acquire the spike. He slowly places it on the table and she begins to play. With clandestine glances, company members quickly consume several of the yolk-like spheres. Gradually, we notice that an area to the rear of the room is partitioned by clear plastic, which is embellished with red contour drawings of a body in motion. Two men sitting on white chairs don masks of soft white and pink fur and begin violently barking at each other in a battle of dominance, yellow gel streaming rabidly down their chins. Behind this growling display, our once-main figure gracefully dances, creating a sense of peace and serenity adjacent to a violent rage—a recurring motif that will translate over to the main performance. The intensity of the cello increases, then suddenly stops. Everyone is frozen in time; thrust into the vicissitudes of the environment. Quiet comes over the audience as the once-beastly men cross paths and the original knife-player exits.

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