The mystical, mesmerizing performance works of Atlanta-based artist Shana Robbins stretch the boundaries of the real. Her jarring, costumed and choreographed rituals of passage are strange and unreal, yet compelling. The photo-documentation of each performance points to carefully constructed sets, costumes and props that set the stage for her offbeat, painterly vision of theatre. Conceptually the works address conditions of the natural realm, feminine existence and ritual with a futuristic, pagan edge. Drawing on her own experiences as a student of Butoh movement, Robbins explores methods of movement and storytelling that pull from ancient narratives of birth, death, identity and transformation.
More than a year ago, photographer Ruben Brulat set out on a journey from Europe to Asia by land only, through Iraq, Iran, onto Afghanistan, Tibet until Indonesia, Japan and Mongolia. The map below outlines the route that Brulat carved out for himself, marked with places where he briefly parallelled the paths of other travelers. His new series, “Paths,” is a collection of portraits the artist took of the strangers he met along the way. Brulat makes a concerted effort to capture each subject completely exposed in the natural setting where they crossed paths, prompting them to surrender themselves completely to the landscape.
According to the artist, he envisions the series as “a narrative constructed only by the randomness of the encounter, places and body—meeting with utopia and hope in these only suspended moments. [These are] bodies of people that became friends, performing, not without difficulties, leaving wounds, marks, and souvenirs from a time before heading towards different paths, after sharing one for a while.”
Django Django‘s crazy new video for “WOR” features India’s Wall of Death Riders in Allahabad. Our friends at Noisey shot the video in a documentary style standing right in the middle of all the action.
I was able to catch the Django’s last show of their US tour at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood last month. “Hello citizens of Los Angeles”, yelled out singer Vincent Neff before they jammed into “Hail Bop”. The band was a lot of fun to watch since they barely came up for air during their hour long set except when they went acoustic for their song, “Hand of Man”.
Lucky for you they’ll be coming back to the US soon to perform at Bonnaroo and a free show in June at New York’s Central Park Summer Stage with the Zombies and Adam Green & Binki Shapiro so definitely check them out. As for the video, it’s really one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while.
Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.
But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.
A little dream-pop, a bit of hip-hop, and a lot of bass, that’s what Canada’s Purity Ring brought to the very sold out El Rey Theatre last week in a show that was sandwiched in between the two weekends of Coachella. The crowd lined up early to get a close up spot to see this highly anticipated appearance, myself included.
The bone-rattling bass during Blue Hawaii‘s opening set almost drowned out singer Raph Standell-Preston, so I was hoping that Purity Ring’s sound wouldn’t be as bass heavy. After a very strange Taylor Swift sing-a-long during intermission (yeah, that happened). I didn’t know the indie kids knew all the lyrics to “I Knew You Were Trouble”, but they do and sang along very loudly. The lights finally dimmed and the alien-like stage set of Purity Ring started to glow. Unfortunately, the heavy bass continued for the first few songs, but then finally got toned down and the incredible voice of Megan James rang out clearly. Watching bandmate Corin Roddick work magic on his custom-built sound and light instrument was just as mesmerizing.
They played most, if not all all of their 2012 4AD debut, “Shrines” including my personal favorites “Obedear” and the set ending “Fineshrine” that had the entire crowd dancing wildly. The band is currently in the midst of a US tour so you still have an opportunity to catch them live. Check out their very cool cover of Soulja Boy & Ester Dean’s “Grammy” which they also played to perfection live and try to catch them at one of their upcoming performances.
Paraglider Gill Schneider had thought a while about arranging an unusual pair: his love of flying and the circus. After the jump a video captures the combination. At first Schneider incorporates his parachute into various circus acts. Before long, though, he takes a performer into the air, juggling gliding over the beaches. The highlight of the video, however, is trapeze artist Roxanne Gilliand. Hanging below Shcneider, Gilliand gracefully performs high over a small lakeside town. The pairing, though unlikely, is a fascinating one.
The collisions between art and life can create an interesting space for an artist to create work from—and something that Atlanta-based installation artist Gyun Hur seeks out. Even though she works abstractly, Hur chooses to charge her work by using the medium’s significance as a conceptual starting point. Artificial flowers and colorful woven fabrics are hand-shredded into a brightly colored powder, which she disseminates throughout the space.
Hur creates her soft, delicate, vibrantly-colored installations through a carefully choreographed “performance,” in which she works to create perfect arrangements of materials that have been released from their original forms. Tweezers, masking tape, and a ruthlessly meticulous attention to detail all play a part in Hur’s impressive, site-specific works. The simultaneous tangibility and impermanence of the works force the viewer to become startlingly aware of every breath, every step—every movement made while in the space.
Brooklyn based duo Widowspeak released their sophomore record, “Almanac” this past January on Captured Tracks and they just played an incredible headlining set at the Echo in Los Angeles last week. The new record sounds amazing live, with the bewitching voice of Molly Hamilton and the flowing guitar riffs of Robert Earl Thomas it’s easy to see why. If you’re like me and have a soft spot for bands like Mazzy Star, then definitely seek them out.
Playing songs from Almanac as well as their self-titled debut, the band was in great spirits throughout their entire set even playing the perfect cover of Chris Isaak‘s, “Wicked Game“ during their encore.
The band is in the midst of a US tour and will be stopping in at the Mohawk in Austin on April 8th, as well as Schubas in Chicago on April 13th before heading back to Brooklyn to play a show at the Knitting Factory on April 19th. You can also check them out in late April and all of May when they head out on a UK/European tour. Check out their video for ‘Locusts’ and do your best to grab a ticket to one of their many upcoming shows.