Through costume-based performance and video, we utilize a monstrous form to reflect the horror of humanity’s actions. The destructive nature of the phantasmagorical figures are violent personifications embodying the parasitic core of our socioeconomic system--the over consumption and exploitation of the world’s biodiversity through “opportunistic trans-species commodification of Life that is the logic of advanced capitalism.”1
On the surface, the monsters are inviting: bright colors, fuzzy textures and shiny exteriors evoke sentimentality for childhood. Through humor, our work is disarming and seductive. The playfulness of our monsters and the lightness of our materials contrasts the gore and brutality of the performances. We combine classical operatic structures and motifs with tropes from iconic horror films to illustrate the cruelty of Capital. We simultaneously engage in and subvert these cliches not to reify, but because we are inspired by “a concomitant aesthetic program: when a critique of [actual] horror produces horrific films.”2 It is through engaging in cruel behaviors and taking them to their most ridiculous extreme that we are able to expose the absurdity of white supremacy and the patriarchal system.
Our monsters communicate in subtext: through exaggerated gestures, cacophonous sounds and operatic vocalizations. We push the monsters’ communications towards the musical, amplifying the tonal aspect of language and raising them to a mythical, more universal level than simple dialogue. Without language, we are privileging action over explanation and flipping capital’s utilization of a pacifying hypermediated consumer culture.
We use excess as strategy--bringing the audience into a liminal space between spectator and spectacle. Vivid monsters and corresponding sets create a hyperreal setting. The immersive combination of the installation, costumes, performance and soundtrack recall Wagnerian opera--it is extravagant, gestural, ceremonial and performative. Employing the spectacle, we use over-the-top violence to “remind us that capitalism is already violent, that under capitalism violence is ambient and systematic, and that capitalism will only yield through greater and different violence.”3 The vicious caricatures reveal the grotesque nature of oppressive social norms. Resisting binary and hierarchical classifications, our monsters explore these callous behaviors in a space of indeterminacy--allowing for rethinking of power structures.
1. Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2013. Print.
2-3. Steven, Mark. Splatter Capital: a Guide for Surviving the Horror Movie We Collectively Inhabit. Repeater, 2017. Print.