A New Fusion Performance Work by Theo Edmonds
Note: The links in the text below are provided as a reference point only and not intended as scholarly citations.
About the Work
Over the past couple of years - from Kentucky to NYC to Paris to Miami and back again - Theo Edmonds’ performance work has been rooted in the traditions of spoken word poetry and live theater –– but the actual art, science and politics of the his newest work, “Hypostatic Flux”, make for much more than a dinner show.
In “Hypostatic Flux”, the audience participates in an experimental experience which combines elements of: visual art; genetic science; absurdist theatre (inspired by Ionesco’s “The Chairs”); live, Weimar-era cabaret music; gritty, low-tech video; and, unflinching, unapologetic poetry.
Building, in part, upon concepts developed by French philosopher Michel Foucault, the piece investigates the contemporary heterotopian experience of a melanin-deficient, Y-chromosome outlier in the American south. Hypostatic Flux explores the concepts of: (1) Nature (DNA) vs Nurture (religion, politics, FB, peer pressure, homophobia, racism, elitism, violence, etc); and, (2) the role of “free will” in determining self-worth. All, a part of the artist’s ritualistic release and offered up as a quasi-shamanistic rebuttal to a fetishized, conformist-based culture of “consumption”.
However, it is a mistake to consider “Hypostatic Flux” a ‘one-liner’ referencing the traditional romantic notion of 'lone artist'. That is only one point of a rhizomatic presentation that takes place both within and without private and public spaces. A presentation format meant to atomize spectatorship and replace it with interactivity and mutual responsibility.
The actual performance of Hypostatic Flux is made of actions and words comprising five plateaus of thought.
Plateau One: The Destroyed Body (Length: 30 Minutes and taking place in a public space adjacent to the actual performance space)
The body: a surface on which events are inscribed (whereas language marks events and ideas dissolve them), place where the Me is dissociated (a Me to which it tries to lend the illusion of a substantial unity), it is a volume perpetually crumbling away. Genealogy, as an analysis of where things come from is thus situated at the point of articulation of the body and history. Its task is to show a body totally imprinted with history, and history destroying the body. ~ Michel Foucault
Plateau Two: The Transformed Painter (Length: 10 Minutes)
You see that's why I really work like a dog, and I worked like a dog all my life. I am not interested in the academic status of what I am doing because my problem is my own transformation... This transformation of one's self by one's knowledge, one's practice is, I think, something rather close the aesthetic experience. Why should a painter work if he is not transformed by his own painting? ~ Michel Foucault
Plateau Three: The Single Phenomenon (Length: 15 Minutes)
The art of government ... which has now become the program of most governments in capitalist countries, absolutely does not seek the constitution of ... [a] standardizing, mass society of consumption and spectacle, etc... It involves, on the contrary, obtaining a society that is not orientated towards the commodity and the uniformity of the commodity, but towards the multiplicity and differentiation of enterprises... An enterprise society and a judicial society, a society orientated towards the enterprise and a society framed by a multiplicity of judicial institutions, are two faces of a single phenomenon. ~ Michel Foucault
Plateau Four: The Same Thing (Length: 10 Minutes)
...if you are not like everybody else, then you are abnormal, if you are abnormal, then you are sick. These three categories, not being like everybody else, not being normal and being sick are in fact very different but have been reduced to the same thing. ~ Michel Foucault
Plateau Five: The Archaeology of Knowledge (Length: 10 Minutes)
Showing that scientific demonstration is basically only a ritual, that the supposedly universal subject of knowledge is really only an individual historically qualified according to certain modalities, and that the discovery of truth is really a certain modality of the production of truth; putting what is given as the truth of observation or demonstration back on the basis of rituals, of the qualifications of the knowing individual, of the truth-event system, is what I would call the archaeology of knowledge. ~ Michel Foucault
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT PERFORMANCE
Performance is approximately 70 minutes. The first 30 minutes of which take place in a public space adjacent to the performance venue.
The event is free but donations will be accepted.
Performance support provided by:
Transylvania University Professor of Biology, Belinda J. Sly;
Transylvania Students: Alex Keys, Hannah Johnson, Paul Brown, Patrick Davis and Clay Shields;
University of Kentucky Students: Ming Hong and Waylon Bigsby; and,
Contemporary Dance Collective's Stephanie Pevec.
Special thanks to Dima Strakovsky, Land of Tomorrow, Joel Feldman, Doreen Maloney, Joe Cannon Artz, Downtown Arts Center and LexArts.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING INCORPORATION OF ART, SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY
Real DNA collection will take place at both the Louisville and Lexington performances. However, actual DNA spooling on stage (as part of the performance) will only occur during the Lexington event. All DNA collected will be anonymous. Immediately following the Lexington performance, a philosophical Q&A will be conducted with the audience about the performance. This interaction will be documented and will serve as the basis for formulating scientific/genetic questions.
A series of experiments (intended to produce scientific reports that, in some fashion, speak to the philosophical questions generated as part of the Q&A) will be performed at Transylvania University over the Summer 2011. All the performance documentation (video, art objects, written materials, etc), scientific reports and resulting academic papers will be presented together in a stand alone exhibition in Fall 2011.
The following chart roughly illustrates the overall process for this project.
(1) artist’s life experience as source material ==>
(2) performance art concept created and performed===>
(3) performance used to gather scientific matter for genetic testing AND to generate philosophical questions===>
(4) philosophic questions serve as basis for scientific
(5) scientific/academic papers created===>
(6) all material developed in this process
as a stand alone exhibition.