Monday, October 4, 2010

Matthew Barney Performs "Khu" in Detroit

Matthew Barney performed his latest work, Khu, in Detroit last Saturday. The performance was filmed and will be integrated with previously-shot footage to become a new installment in Barney's Ancient Evenings series. Although the six-hour performance and film shoot on the Detroit and Red Rivers was marred by rain and icy temperatures (which caused a problem with some special effects during the final scene), the performance appears to have been quite a spectacle. James Franco, Bjork, Barbara Gladstone, and Sadie Coles were among the attendees.

The Detroit Free Press (misspelling the title as "Kuh") reports on the performance:

"A team of FBI homicide investigators discovered the remains of a murder victim in a body bag, in this case, a 1967 Chrysler Crown Imperial. An industrial crane lifted it from the river and deposited it on deck. Four zippy red towboats circled the barge, each carrying a group of saxophonists and a percussionist who played tolling, foghorn and call-and-response figures.

Female officers, who sang chant-like melodies, unwrapped the car. The lead detective recoiled at the mangled horror. The engine was removed, and someone put live snakes into it. The detective dropped her pants, rubbed mud on her thighs and sat on the engine block....

We were bused to the River Rouge complex and deposited at a glue factory, where workers built gorgeous silver viols played by some 15 musicians as Belita Woods sang a lovely, spiritual-like aria that set the scene. Then it was on to the 185-foot barge for a journey down the Rouge and Detroit rivers. Essentially, we were in the midst of a murder caper filtered through the myth of Osiris and Isis, with the fallen Chrysler as Osiris, god of the underworld....

The final tableau, a shoreline factory in Trenton with rusty silos as tall as skyscrapers and furnaces spouting fire, was a stunning sight against the ominous sky. Musicians flanked the end zones of the scene, workers stoked the blazes, and figures in top hats perched at the top of the silos, held in place by harnesses. Sundry weirdness ensued, before molten iron finally came pouring out of the furnaces and golden filigree streamed down the silos. The furnaces were supposed to all burst at once, but the weather contributed to some technical snafus and the lava staggered out in shifts."

More information (including a list of the cast: Aimee Mullins, Eugene Perry, Herbert Perry, Jennie Knaggs, Faruq Z. Bey and Belita Woods) and photos of the performance have been posted on the Lipstick Tracez blog.


Anonymous said...

I was there to see the filming. Here's my report:

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