Review: 21 Movements reflects a torrid century (2017)

21movements
Photo by Nick Watt

21 Movements, an interactive performance work devised by Berlin-based Kiwi performance artist Alexa Wilson offers another immersive experience to Auckland Fringe audiences, this time engaging memory and emotions connected to significant global events of the 21st century.  Structured like a Pecha Kucha event, it references 22 such events, serially allocating each two-and-a-half minutes in the spotlight.Less than two decades old, our 21st century has already proved tumultuous, with upheavals resulting from the 9/11 bombings in New York City, wars in Iraq and Syria; Indian Ocean tsunamis, Haitian earthquakes; the London bombings; Edward Snowden’s whistle-blowing, Brexit, and the election of President Trump. Less epic, but also included in Wilson’s roster, are the corrosive impact of technologies such as Facebook and other social media, and the virus-like spread of the Occupy movement.

As each event is announced, a photographic image by Nick Watt is projected onto the wall, a brief text and movement commentary is presented by Wilson, and the audience is encouraged to remember images and experiences they associate with that event. Invitations are also offered to audience members to incorporate their experiences into the performance, with an array of opportunities for them to take the floor, complete a task, or speak into a microphone. More than half the opening night audience take to the floor at some point to share their material.

Wilson’s own contributions offer 22 ways of responding to upheaval. She is, by turns, kind and gentle and circumspect, wild and wanton and disheveled, naked and watchful yet elegant, masked or cloaked, feral and raging, frenzied and erratic, compassionate and comforting, erudite and informative.

She heightens our awareness of what we have lived through, reminds us about the healing power of love, the value of connecting with others, the need for collective action if we are to change the future for our planet. Her art prompts us to continue making contributions towards planetary change.

21 MOVEMENTS by Alexa Wilson with Nick Watt photographs.
9 – 11 March 2017 at The Basement Theatre  (Auckland Fringe 2017).

— Published as Torrid reflections  10 March 2017  in NZ Herald Online.

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