Every morning I wake up to the snails. They are swept up in my
Bang Bang Baroque (WIP)
‘It is indecent to make a gesture with your left hand alone, do not let your hand hang down as if lame or dead.“
— Thomas Betterton, 1700
Bang Bang Baroque consists of a series of sixteen graphite drawings that explore a conflation between The Great Sparrow Campaign, which was a part of Mao Zedongs’ intention to exterminate sparrows during The Great Leap Forward (1958–1962); French caricatures of baroque wigs from the 18th century; ‘soft head-banging’ and classical gestures of rhetoric (Chironomia). The drawings are translated into large inflatable sculptures made from parachute silk and worn by performers who, moving amidst the guests, oscillate between psychological and material concepts of “subject” and “object” while the forms expand and sway above their heads. The physical actions of the performers range from “soft head-banging” to a repertoire of traditional gestures from baroque opera and contemporary mannerisms of etiquette.
A series of graphic scores for the performance illustrate the paths that the dancers and music composition take, and will be drawn as a map on the ground with vinyl for the floor of the museum. These notations are based upon the Beauchamp-Feuillet (1700) system of dance notation, combined with the aesthetic of artichoke hearts. The accompanying soundtrack, comprised of a death growling chorus, metronome aria’s, sparrow gabber, and harpsichord diddies, will function as a musical translation of the original drawings
I chose to focus on Baroque gestures due to their significance in communicating hierarchies: ‘It is indecent to make a gesture with your left hand alone, do not let your hand hang down as if lame or dead.“ (Thomas Betterton, 1700). Paradoxically, I am inspired by head-banging and its anti-conformist movements. By this juxtaposition of symbols, cultural hierarchies will be thematized. I have developed ‘soft head-banging’ as a deliberate reference to the vigorous head-banging of the death metal scene, but with an emphasis on care of the body. Using the floor as a tether, movement is transferred up through the spine in an undular fashion so that the entire body is contributing to a fountaining of movement. Contrasted by an analysis of the ‘Beauchamp-Feuillet‘ system of dance notation (baroque), the vibrational repetition of “soft-head-banging” will be used to dislodge and release classical gestures of rhetoric in a vigorous manner. What traditions need to be deracinated so that something new can emerge? What does a ‘new baroque’ look like?