I&I

tranSfera + 9 steps to dust

I love art that delves into corporeality and thought I’d report on two moving shows I caught in the past few months: Suka Off’s tranSfer and Yuko Kaseki’s 9 steps to dust.

Suka Off – tranSfera

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I learned about Suka Off after Danny Wylde posted his interview with one of its members, Piotr Wegrzynski and I knew I had to catch their show at defibrillator gallery. I always love experimental art, even if it falls flat, is cringingly horrible or utterly ridiculous. I’d still rather see someone fail spectacularly at trying something ambitious than someone excel at something safe and predictable. And there’s far too much safe and predictable in Toronto in my view.

Suka Off delivered a performance of such extremity, one wrong move could have sent the whole affair into the realm of the ludicrous. Typing out the details would make the performance seem lurid and silly. But it was executed with such exacting symmetry, such deadly concentration, walking that knife edge right up to the end of the performance, that I found it to be an immersive and hypnotic work of beauty.

Yuko Kaseki – 9 steps to dust

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I saw Dock 11‘s flyer for 9 steps with the above image while wandering Berlin and knew I had to attend. This demanding solo dance performance ran in early July but Kaseki’s performance – its images, movement, sound – still play vividly in my mind. An exploration of mortality, 9 steps to dust probed the corporeality of death, its vicerality. At some points, Kaseki even employed a fully articulated skeleton. This detail probably makes the performance seem contrived, but her distorted, contemplative choreography and lack of posturing imbued the dance with a boldness, a directness. Over the course of roughly two hours, Kaseki mapped out a narrative with distinct chapters, dancing through a series of distinctly styled gestures and contortions that moved inexorably toward its haunting conclusion: an image of the artist covering herself in dust. Unforgettable!

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