For reviews on Big Art Group, Miguel Gutierrez, Lagartijas Tiradas Al Sol, Nora Chipuamire, Kota Yamazaki, Perforations, Keith Hennessy, Ten Tiny Dances, Brainstorm, and Future Cinema, authored by Me, go to www.seanongley.com.
Tonight was the first night of the Time Based Art Festival! My name is Joni, and I’ll be covering several of the TBA’s events as the week goes on. For those of you who don’t already know, the TBA Festival is an annual interdisciplinary art festival here in Portland, Oregon. The show is put on by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and this year is their tenth year. To celebrate, they are hosting a the festival that promises to be bigger and better than ever! The festival is being held in its long-time abandoned high school home on 12th and Stark in South East Portland.
When we arrived to the festival we immediately went to the box office, which is managed out of a darling little yellow vintage Airstream teardrop trailer. The lines were quick and efficient, and holding my pass in my hand felt so good…it was finally happening! The ticketing system uses small credit card type passes that feature a small scratch-off area, underneath which is PICA’s logo. This little detail, combined with several other little “oh, wow” moments throughout the night made me feel very confident that the festival is in great hands with its new director,
The evening began with a delicious-looking fancy dinner served to around one hundred or so people on the lawn outside the high school. This is an event I couldn’t afford and didn’t attend, although everyone looked very nice and surprisingly not stuck-up. If I had to narrow down the type of people who attended that dinner I would say horn-rimmed glasses and Vespas.
At 8:30 PM the festival art got underway with a performance of Big Art Group’s “The People—Portland”. The group comes from New York City and they have been touring the world with their experimental performance ensemble for over ten years. The fascinating piece they put on is quite complicated and may be tricky to describe to anyone who wasn’t there. It features pre-recorded interviews with people from around Portland, which are played on the massive brick side wall of the abandoned Washington High School. The projection is so large that the faces of those speaking are 10-15 feet in height. In conjunction with these interviews, which mainly feature discussions about war, justice, democracy, etc., there is a live play being both performed AND filmed, inside the high school. The play that’s being performed is “The Oresteia”, which is a trilogy of Greek tragedies (although to be honest, for most of the show I mistakenly thought they were just trying to do their own weird rendition of “The Odyssey”). What made the show so interesting was the way the play was performed. It featured actors in little or no makeup, usually with plain clothes on or a simple costume, or ill-fitting wig, wearing signs to indicate their characters, and dramatically overacting the entire time.
I found the performance to be very outrageous, although that’s appropriate given that Big Art Group’s leaders have expressed in the past that they want their work to be “very transgressive”.
I bring my humorous arts journalism from my personal blog mostly to make an example out of how to help promote the arts. I am an individual writer who’s trying to gain exposure and entry in to events out of my love for writing and the arts; perhaps there is a career in it. I would enjoy being able to comment on and present my blog through a secondary community media site like the one here, even if were not managing the site myself. So if you are interested in posting here, please contact me. Thanks.
FROM THE BLOG:
It wasn’t before several minutes in to the performance that I actually recognized a certain move as a break step; I like going in with a clean slate and definitely a touch naïve. Regardless of my naiveté, the great thing about this group is their originality and energy, not the fact that it’s world-class hip-hop dance. Perhaps what threw me at the beginning was the utter lack of hip-hop music, or maybe it was three men on their shoulders doing the bicycle. Either way, Kafig is your indicator, meaning “Cage.” Take it ironically because I witnessed no limitations in this Compagnie…. [READ MORE]