Scott Benzel Performance
(Threnody) A Beginner’s Guide to Mao Tse-tung—for 2 tape loops, dancers, cello, viola, violin, and percussion
This performance features two reel-to-reel tape machines in the center of the performance space. The tape loops are stretched between dancers costumed as the faux Maoist rebel portrayed by Sharon Tate in a 1967 issue of Esquire. The photo-essay that inspired this performance was accompanied by aphorisms from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and featured a scantily clad Tate surrounded by luxury goods. In Scott Benzel’s translation, each dancer employs a different appliance to maintain tape tension. The looping tapes play an electronic composition while a cellist, violist, violinist, and percussionist play both a predetermined score and improvised reactions to the loops.