Performance Nights @ Studio 6, Curated by Roisin Bohan
Night #1 – Myths of the Future Exotic, 17th February
by Holly O’Brien w/ Liam Slevin + Dan Guiney
Holly O’Brien is a multidisciplinary artist based in Dublin. She creates live art performances and costume designs. Much of her work is the result of a blending of hyper mythologies and contemporary identities and cultures. O’Brien has collaborated with musician Dan Guiney and sound artist Liam Slevin. Myths of the Future Exotic with the combined elements of the theatre and nightclub, brought together dance, costume design and music, and examined them through the lens of visual art. Róisín Bohan is an artist and curator based in Dublin. She currently holds the position of Assistant Curator at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios and is a member of The Performance Caravan, a Cork based artist collective. Myths of the Future is the first in a series of Performance Nights @ Studio 6 to be curated by Bohan. Night #2 will present artwork by Alba Lorca and Ross Kelly on Wednesday the 23rd of March.
Prior to entering Studio Six at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios to see Myths of the Future Exotic, I had never before experienced the performances of the artist Holly O’Brien. I did not know what to expect. What I got was an experience. Upon entering it was as if I had crossed over into another world or time zone. From the concrete modernist interior of TBG+S to a Battlestar Galactica Cylon nightclub. Enveloped in blue light, which was diffused through a semi-opaque plastic sheet hung as a room divider and immersed in loud electronic music, composed mainly of drumming and a sort of screeching, we were allowed to wander. The room was filled with the audience and consequently it was difficult to wander through, but this was an artwork we were in as opposed to an one we were watching or listening to. Beyond the plastic sheet was the blurred outline of the DJ, On two platforms, wooden crates painted white, danced two semi naked men whose bodies were bejeweled in white reflective spots. They glittered and flickered in and out of sight as the blue light pulsed. The one closest to me wore a black mask, necklace and cloth skirts, which showed the silhouette of a dangling phallic object between his legs. The dancers moved fluidly, their hands and arms twisting upwards over their faces. The tempo of the music increased rapidly, causing a brief anxiety to creep over me. There were other costumed people throughout the room mixed in with the crowd. It was all-consuming. And then it was over. We filed out.
Myths of the Future Exotic felt not too far off from our present day nightclubs. I think that was the point. However it seemed perhaps a hyper real version of a nightclub. O’Briens performance gave me an experience I have only otherwise felt in the early hours of the morning. This time whilst I was sober, I was drunkenly absorbed into the excessive and obscured atmosphere of our night culture. Hinting at the aesthetics of a Cylon space ship and diving deeply into our current human habit of dancing in sweaty black spaces under the influence, Holly O’Brien’s theatre has caught my interest. My one disappointment was that I was crammed into studio six and did not get to wander freely enough, lift the plastic sheeting and check out the DJ. Then again being crammed in is part of the nightclub experience. It must be said there were two performances to accommodate the large interest in the event.
Looking forward to Night #2 the next interdisciplinary spectacle.
Night #2 – Alba Lorca and Ross Kelly – Wednesday the 23rd of March, TBG+S
Words and images: Roisin Power Hackett