We use humor and chaos to examine the crises that emerge from human exceptionalism. Through costume-based performance and video, our work explores alternate universes populated with monsters.
We operate in a space outside the confines of bound identities, using monsters to dehumanize and reflect the monstrosity in humanity’s actions. The monsters are at once silly, playful and exceptionally brutal. The grotesque, phantasmagorical figures become violent personifications of “the opportunistic trans-species commodification of Life that is the logic of advanced capitalism.” The destructive nature of the monsters embodies the parasitic core of our system, where “over consumption and depletion of the world’s reserves of biodiversity...seem able to co-exist in a political economy of exploitation and celebration of Life itself.”1
The monsters communicate in subtext: through exaggerated gestures, cacophonous sounds and operatic vocalizations. This level of communication mirrors the pathology of late capitalism: “Writing has never been capitalism’s thing. Capitalism is profoundly illiterate.”2 Using operatic vocalizations, we push the monsters’ communications towards the musical, amplifying the tonal aspect of language. Without language, we are giving space for the viewer to experience the work for themselves, privileging action over explanation and flipping capital’s utilization of hypermediated consumer culture on its head.
We use excess as strategy--bringing the audience into a liminal space between spectator and spectacle. The immersive combination of the installation, costumes, performance and operatic soundtrack reflects the wagnerian spectacle of 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 violent caricatures reveal the absurdity of oppressive social norms. Resisting binary and hierarchical classifications, the monsters explore these cruel behaviors in a space of indeterminacy--allowing for rethinking of power structures.
1. Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2013. Print.
2. Deleuze, Gilles, and Guattari Félix. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Viking Press, 1977.
3. Steven, Mark. Splatter Capital: a Guide for Surviving the Horror Movie We Collectively Inhabit. Repeater, 2017. Print.