Thursday, January 29, 2009

"I am the water that joins your land to other lands"

I saw a performance by the wacky Spanish performance group La Fura Dels Baus ("Rats from the Sewer" to you) almost 20 years ago in a gigantic, then-abandoned movie studio in Queens. Found it simultaneously fascinating and a little empty, as I recall. Mostly I remember performers emerging from the ceiling and then chasing us around with chainsaws or something, and a guy in a huge fishtank. (For the record, they were on the cutting edge of that whole suspended-from-the-ceiling craze, which is now so ubiquitous that I caught some other wacky performance group doing it during one of the Inauguration Day balls on the way to a commercial break on NBC. No chainsaws or fish/human hybrids, though.)

Tonight I stumbled upon a YouTube video of excerpts from a much more recent outdoor performance by LFDB. Judging from brief snippets of other pieces, it looks like they've gone in a more Cirque du Soleil direction of late, although this one is not in that mode so much, and the English-language text makes the political/ecological theme way more explicit than what I saw all those years ago. (Visually and verbally, it's not that far from the recent Day the Earth Stood Still remake. Check out the Gort!) Feel free to fast-forward now and then, but prepare to be dazzled:

Spectacle on this scale often evokes fascism to me, but then these folks' parents and grandparents lived through the real thing, so who am I to talk? There's one moment where you see that the seedlike dots in one huge, vaguely flowerlike form are actually human beings, which made me think of this blog title I love so much.

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