My L.A – Day 6 (a little extra)

Museum of Contemporary Art – An evening with Brian Butler

Before leaving for the US I wanted to try to fill some of my diary with art openings and events. This would give me a reason to get out and about networking after work hours. I really didn’t want to feel later that I had wasted any opportunity to see, hear, learn something new.

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Whilst looking for events I can across MOCAtv’s film screening of Brian Butlers new work ‘Babalon working’, which also included a live performance piece ‘Transmigration’ featuring actress Paz de la Huerta. Performance art isn’t normally something I go to see, but as it was being held at MOCA it gave me a great excuse to see some of their other art whilst there.

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The event itself was packed, if they had a venue capacity for the performance space, they certainly weren’t adhering to it. After being delayed by an hour the film screening and performance were briefly introduced by the programmer of MOCAtv.

The film and performance were advertised as being ‘a visually arresting journey of consciousness that communicates experientially with the viewer and explores the layers of ecstasy, madness, and creativity that mediate man’s voyage between life and death.’ It was certainly one of the most bizarre evenings I’ve spent in a gallery setting.

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The film itself was short and instantly forgettable, but the performance was something else entirely. Throughout the entire performance Paz was seated facing the audience. She was  decked out in a glamorous black sequin evening dress complete with Farrah Fawcett circa 1970 hair do. Lighting played a large part in the performance, switching between strobe and a poorly lit red haze, which was accompanied by a very loud and intense, low frequency ’noise’. Throughout the lighting and sound performance, I was totally absorbed by Paz. If her direction was to portray a woman swing between extreme madness and ecstasy she certainly managed it. Even now I’m not entirely sure what I was watching, or if it achieved what Brain had in mind, but after 20mins of head crushing noise, strobe lighting and the observation of madness I was relieved when it was over…and I wasn’t the only one, the majority of the audience left the building looking shell shocked.

Enjoyed this post? Start at Day 1 of Sally’s adventures taking Memory Box to Los Angeles. Or you can carry on to Day 7.