Gigs, dance, art

April 30th, 2009: Wayn Traub – Maria-Magdalena


I wonder why they keep putting Wayn Traub‘s shows in the “dance” category. Granted, there was some of that in the video, but this makes no sense at all. Is that because dance is where you put whatever isn’t fitting in predefined categories? I don’t really care, by the way, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. As for this post, I’ll leave it as “uncategorized”, which I think is quite appropriate in this case.

The stage feature a big screen showing the movie — or rather the series of short videos — that was the most interesting part of the show for me. Wayn Traub was standing in front dressed in black with his hair slicked back and dyed a vivid orangish red, with his face painted blue. At times he would talk, other times sing, and something stand and pick up various objects placed on pedestals. The stage was divided in three concentric circles that could turn independently, mostly to move Traub and the pedestals around — the one the big screen was on only rotated once at the end.

The songs and text were heavy with references to some cheesy mystical mother figure that was half Lilith and hald Kali. Maybe more Kali. The videos were very diverse, with some webcam footage of Hong Kong the one appearing most often. The only dance part was done by Asian dancers dressed as nuns, that served as backdrop for Traub’s singing. There was one about a female scientist looking for fear in a cursed cave, another with an actor talking about brain and mind, one with a soldier stranded in a deserted village, another giving a sales tour of a former monastery that eventually included a telling of a local legend about a fertility grove, a goddess statue and a possessed monk. Some videos would refer to others or feature common elements, first and foremost a nice knife.

Taken separately, all these were kinda weak. But the funny thing is that the whole went beyond the hodgepodge of cliches and displayed a strong vision. A bit like with Matthew Barney, I can’t say I like the world he puts together, but I’m impressed by the strength of his vision. I actually love the experience of being a guest in such a made up world, even when that feeling is the only thing I really like about the show. It’s rare enough to be very worthwhile to me. So I guess I’ll probably check him out again someday, but most likely not very soon.


May 3, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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