TBA Festival 2012: Perforations Performance Review


Perforations, a series of four works by Serbian and Croatian artists, got off to a bad start when TBA representatives walked through the audience line warning the show may induce claustrophobia and requires standing. For people already waiting in line to get in, this was irritating to hear.

Perforations (cont’d)

We proceeded to pack together tightly in a dark area behind the stage. Artist Petra Kovaćić weaved a spool of white string into a web that blocked our exit while eerie music played and dynamic lights emphasized her shadow. One man joked he wished Kovaćić would just run out of string already. After twenty minutes of standing together uncomfortably, another viewer noticed a pair of scissors planted nearby. We cut through Kovaćić’s web and made our escape.

We were then ushered into the part of the auditorium that had chairs and, for reasons never made clear, the vibe grew increasingly restless for over thirty minutes while nothing happened. Eventually the stage illuminated and Kovaćić writhed to twinkly ambient chimes on a grid of powdery mirrored glass. Both her body and shadow were outlined and illuminated on a screen creating the illusion of a spider-like double body, with multiple arms and legs. This may have been a show highlight, but it was hard not to still feel jaded about that long wait.

Mercifully soon after, Biljana Kosmogina came out in a “candidacy of vagina” campaign for pussy to take control politically and solve the world’s problems. Stock photography of vaginas cycled through in a gigantic slideshow behind her. Initially this segment brought much needed vitality, but after the same vagina pictures rolled through eight million times it got hard to believe Kosmogina was still going. She proceeded to engage in a long pretend orgasm, moaning out a long list of well known political figures. This may have been more effective if she didn’t continually pause to look at a queue card of president names.

I don’t know how many people left, but the audience seemed substantially smaller by this point. The viewers who remained were next invited to a classroom for improvised experimental audio by East Rodeo, an ambient band of brothers Alen and Nenad Sinkauz from Pula. The brothers lean towards each other while they play, responding to one another’s improvisations with occasional bursts of unconventional sound like a mechanized voice or a violin bow on an electric guitar. Even a knife was used as part of an instrument. I enjoyed watching their physical interplay, one brother stoic and still as he focused, the other consistently bobbing and and twisting to the music.

Last year’s site specific TBA offering Off-Site Dance Project activated both the audience and the spaces they used in playful, surprising, and skillful ways. Perforations had some compelling moments that stood out, but overall it asked too much from its audience for too little payoff. It’s possible that some of the awkwardness was manufactured to evoke an experience, but in it’s worst moments the event came off as tedious and unprepared.


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