Friday, February 28, 2003

Events: This weekend at Bindlestiff Studios will be hosting "Cosmic Blood" performed by Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa aka "the Devil Bunny in Bondage."

Here's the description:

Apocalyptic and visionary, instigating and seductive, Cosmic Blood examines the historical effects and present-day implications of mestizaje, the colonization of Latin America and the Phillipines by Spain, resulting in mixed races and cultures. Says artist/activist Otálvaro-Hormillosa, "Mestizaje is the painful creation of a new race, of many races, but it is also a means of survival, and restoring balance. Cosmic Blood takes the concept of mestizaje further by looking at how it interplays with gender and sexuality. Since I embody multiple identities, it works to my advantage: I illustrate what marginal communities may experience. I use art to push the boundaries of what people consider community and identity -- because these things are fluid and intersecting."

I've always admired Devil Bunny's work ever since she moved out from the east coast several years ago. The shows are always very intense because she explores so many things particularly in regards to gender and sexuality. And the way that she presents it through form, song, movement, and most recently technology really pushes the bounds of performance space.

As an example I'll describe an excerpt of a work in progress that she performed at POMO (Pilipino Post Modern Production) August 2002. The premise of this work was based on a picture of a Filipina she found from the turn of the century, documenting to the Americans that Filipinos had tails. (The woman indeed had a "tail" due to a birth defect in which her tail bones --yes, we all have one-- didn't properly fuse to the rest of her spine) Devil Bunny often does extensive research particularly around the US colonial period in the Philippines and takes these narratives creating a different trajectory. In this case asking the question as to whether this girl was really a space alien here to deliver a message to earth.

Devil Bunny came out as a silver space alien riding a remote control pedestal. With her feet, legs, arms, carefully hidden behind a fluffy cloud like costume with football shoulder pads, she traverses the stage floor. As an actor she essentially took away use of her body. (If anything, performers want as much use of their bodies as possible.) And instead relied solely on her facial expressions to convey the story.

Frankly, there have been many times after initially seeing Gigi's work that I frankly just don't get it. But more importantly her work often leaves an emotional imprint that doesn't necessarily translate into words. Her work examines the complexities of interlocking relationships and identities yet in the end leaves you asking more from it. By breaking physical and visual planes she allows us to break those planes in ourselves, essentially setting our imaginations free.

I really don't know what the Devil Bunny has in store for us now but it's surely something not to miss! It's only tonight and Saturday night. Bindlestiff has a small capacity so it's sure to sell out.

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