WIFE – Art, illusions and mythology

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Many of you (I am sure) are probably wondering what on earth has happened to this blog. Where are all those insightful and witty articles I have been promising? I started this page with the conviction that I will go through with it, I will not tire, nor procrastinate, I will write and write and write to my heart’s content. But, like most things, I have yet to do all the above. The fact is, this blog was dangerously starting to sink into oblivion. To pull it out from the grave it was digging itself in, I have decided to revive it with an « all-sensory theatrical experience », you heard me.

Yesterday, while aimlessly wandering through what is commonly called the ‘weird side of YouTube’, I stumbled upon a video called « WIFE – The Grey Ones ». I was intrigued by the title and also by the statuesque figures in the thumbnail so I clicked. At first disconcerted by the strange jagged visuals accompanied by alien music, I was very quickly absorbed into the whole atmosphere and proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon watching and re-watching video upon video.

Turns out, I found a real gem. WIFE is a theatrical/dance troupe composed of three artists from Los Angeles: Kristen Leahy, Nina McNeely, and Jasmine Albuquerque. It combines music, digital projections and dance to create an otherworldly and trance like performance that the viewer can interpret for himself. While watching, I thought that this is probably what a Joan Miro painting would look like if it could move. The more you concentrate on the movements and combined light projections, the more you understand how much work must be put into such a production. The result can only be described as ethereal; through a clever combination of darkness and light, the human form ceases to be tangible or even individual – it can be cut up and remolded together – three beings becoming one synchronized entity, inviting us to another world. This is probably why the troupe is called WIFE instead of ‘wives’ and even describes itself as ‘she’.

A very futuristic imagery is constructed throughout the three videos shown on YouTube; ‘The Grey Ones’ (inspired perhaps by the Graeae Sisters of Greek mythology), ‘Past Lives and ‘Statuettes’. The performances tells a story, and the themes can range from birth, death, beauty, femininity adding even poetry, like in the very colourful ‘Passengers‘ video (my personal favorite) directed by Benjy Russell. Seeing as this is interpretative art, some people may view the performances differently and the interpretations can be infinite. But this is why WIFE is so interesting because it makes you think, it pulls you in, engages and enchants you. That, to me, is what art is all about. If you have a few minutes to spare, I advise you to take a look, see what you can find.

Denise

WIFE website

WIFE YouTube channel

 

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Being an indifferent person in a changing world is not that simple… and not that fun.

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I used to not care. I wish I still could but somehow world politics have sucked me in to their vortex of shit and I have now landed on a new planet were everything seems to look worse… I also get the annoying feeling that I have to do something about it. 

As I sit here, my mother is frantically searching for her expired carte de séjour, her french residency permit that dates back to the nineties. It has – of course – disappeared. Nonetheless, she is adament that it must be here somewhere and it probably is. But that doesn’t make the search any less of a stressful bother. I hate searching for lost things, if a thing decides to get lost I automatically pretend it never existed. Unfortunately, a twenty year old expired carte de séjour has suddenly become more important than we ever thought it could, and pretending things don’t exist is a luxury that you can leave back in 2010, girlfriend. Welcome to the 2017 post-Brexit battle of the unfortunate expats.

On Friday, the 24th of June 2016, at exactly 7:25 in the morning I found out Britain was leaving the EU. I was sitting in a train station café in the Burgundian town of Dijon, having a croissant and trying to wake myself up after a sleepless night by consuming multiple expressos. I had already forgotten that the results were in and was much more interested in trying not to fall asleep on my chair. It was only when I heard a french women say to her husband: « Ah non, mais c’est fou quand même »* that I understood. With dread I turned my head to see written in big letters on the TV screen: « Britain is out », then turned calmly back to the window, looked out towards the grey concrete outline of the station, smiled and whispered: « Well, that’s me finished ». To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really care, I just like pretending to overreact to things because it makes life a little more interesting. I had, in the recesses of my mind, the firm conviction that everything was going to be OK, that things are never as bad as they seem.

Let’s just say that I was half wrong. Yes, I have now reached the understanding that everything will in fact be OK because I was lucky enough to be born in a society and under a state where my security and my well-being will be defended at any cost, way before the security and well-being of any other born less fortunate. Is this fair? Not at all, but it is true. Yet, I was wrong to assume that everything isn’t as bad as it seems. Things are bad: Britain has decided to take a step into the unknown and has voted to leave thanks to a lovely referendum for which I couldn’t vote. This, under any perspective seems counter-productive both socially and economically and will have long term negative effects on younger generations. The United States have elected Trump. The man who recently had a hissy fit about how many people actually attended his inauguration and, let’s not forget, that extremism is getting ever more popular thanks to the threat posed by terrorism. So, without sounding melodramatic, I can safely say we are entering murky waters folks, waters which have only recently started reaching out to our little western society feeties but have been flowing as far back as 2011 from the Arab Springs.

One of the unfortunate aspects that emerges from all of this is that we participate and interest ourselves only when things don’t go our way, if we don’t feel any direct consequence then we might as well consider it never happened. It’s normal. Don’t shame and blame yourself for it. Instead, try to understand why this happens and, most crucially, own up to it. I was a perfect example. I was any activist’s worst nightmare, preferring sitting back with a nice glass of gin and tonic to having any serious discussion.

Today, I am writing the first article of a blog that, at most, will be seen by more than five people, and I’m cool with that. Of course, I am worried about what the future holds. I don’t want women’s rights to go down the drain because of trumpisms, I don’t like thinking about how people could be murdered, blown up and torn from their homes any second from now and I would prefer not having to present myself to an angry french administration begging for double nationality. But, as dear Jean-Claude Van Damme would say, I am definitely more aware. Which is not a bad thing; it could even be the only good thing. So, I am going on a little adventure. I mean to speak out to a cynical youth that poses as being decadent and uninterested but who, deep down – and I know it -, is much more caring (and clever) that it lets on to be.

*Oh my god, it’s unbelievable

Photograph by Bert Hardy