Positively Warholian Sep 28, 2012
Several years ago, Seattle School created a multimedia project based upon Andy Warhol's film Blue. It was an extravaganza that involved the entire building at Northwest Film Forum. A director sat in a small box at the top of the lobby landing watching the film, giving instructions via headsets to three more directors in the larger theatre, who were giving non-verbal directions to three actors also in the larger theatre. There were camera crews filming this process, and the footage was being beamed back to the smaller theatre, where the audience could address the direct and cause an intervention in the entire process. The result was a beautiful mess of a show. Something I've never forgotten, and in a way a benchmark for how to address, in a contemporary context, the ideas and concerns of Andy Warhol's filmic work, his social engineering, and the cultural atmosphere of the factory in general.
Last night's Gob Squad performance provided me with yet another benchmark to measure these ideas, now some three years on, in a culture that has become even more self-obsessed than it was back in 2009. It's a performance, a projection, a history lesson, a master class for a select few (4) and one of the most wildly entertaining shows I've seen in years. Using the framing of three of Warhol's films; Sleep, Kitchen, and what is actually a series of films, Screen Tests, the piece weaves the past present and future in a befittingly modernist context. We begin with a tour of the elaborately simple set and end with a stage full of amateurs, which is to say that our experience is positively Warholian. The mundane becomes profound, the profound mundane. To say much about the extraordinary audience participation would be too much of a spoiler. In fact its pretty hard to write a review of the piece without saying much about that. So what can I say.... GO, GO, GO!