Saturday, July 19, 2014

In the "ARENA" with Walter Dundervill

Walter Dundervill (photo by Ian Douglas)
Drop into Walter Dundervill's ARENA, a performance installation at the small arts space JACK tonight, anytime between 6pm and 9pm, and you'll feel close enough to nearly everything to feel the inexorable pull of gravity dragging everyone and everything down. If tonight is anything like the last, and there's no guarantee of that, maybe this showplace of the deep interior will feel a lot like the external world itself, and Dundervill--going about his business of dressing his seven dancer/models in a workmanly manner--will seem like the crafter of that world in his messy workshop full of mylar, aluminum foil, dropcloths, drapery, ribbons, cardboard and plexiglass, piling idea onto idea of costuming and decor details with more industry than clear sense. It might pull at your spirit to watch Omagbitse Omagbemi submit to having Dundervill tie padding to her hips and a length of ribbon around her gray, matted wig and eyes--a tiny flicker of apprehension and reluctance crosses her face each time he approaches--and to watch Rebecca Brooks, with her customary princess-like bearing, peaceably acquiesce to similar treatment. But then it's all going south, all of it, into a mess of forms mashing into one another, Brooks and Omagbemi collapsing into surrounding fabric like half-melted icing; Omagbemi encasing herself in a plastic box listlessly pushed by Brooks; their fellow performers forming a sprawl of bodies along a kind of horizontal, earthbound and joyless maypole. When I left last evening (you can come and go as you please), the intensified and briefly exciting dynamics had started devolving into clutter. Nowhere to go. But, then again, who knows what happened next? Or what will happen tonight?

Installation, costumes and sound by Walter Dundervill

Performed by Dundervill, Omagbemi, Brooks, Benjamin Asriel, Nicole Daunic, Jessie Gold, Jennifer Kjos and Kevin Lovelady

Curated by Stacy Grossfield

ARENA concludes tonight, open to viewing between 6pm and 9pm. Ticketing is by cash at the door. For further information, click here.

505 1/2 Waverly Avenue (between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue), Brooklyn

1 comment:

Walter Dundervill said...

Thank you, Eva. This is beautifully written and observed.

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