Friday, October 8, 2010
More on Matthew Barney's Khu Film Shoot In Detroit
Artforum.com has published some more information on Matthew Barney's Khu performance/film shoot in Detroit:
"In Barney and Bepler’s telling, Khu is a crime story featuring the double-amputee athlete Aimee Mullins as an FBI gumshoe named Isis and a 1967 Chrysler Crown Imperial as Osiris. (The protagonist-vehicle was dismembered during Act One’s Ren two years ago at a bulletproof car dealership outside LA.)." In a short prologue screened at the Detroit Institute of Arts before the performance, "Barney drives a golden Pontiac Firebird Trans Am—which emerged from the ashes of the Chrysler in Ren—through the guardrail of Detroit’s Belle Isle Bridge. (For the uninitiated, Harry Houdini, Barney’s mentor-by-proxy, also went over the bridge—in a coffin—in 1906, an act Barney invoked at the end of Cremaster 5.)....
Actors playing stone-faced security guards commanded us to board three chartered buses that drove us in a funereal procession through Detroit to an abandoned glue factory on the Rouge River. Inside, workers assembled fifteen oddly shaped steel viols for as many musicians, who played like droning tone-deaf bees while accompanying Detroit-based soul singer Belita Woods in an aria to the two cars....Tugboats carrying a brass section announced our arrival at the riverbank crime scene where Mullins made her entrance and directed the wreck of the Chrysler to be dredged from the deep while assistants wailed like banshees at the muddy sight of it and a helicopter buzzed the barge from above....
We had reached an abandoned steel mill where five mountain climbers dressed in gold lamé stood atop five skyscraping silos, an evocation of the Detroit-born Byars, best known for his use of gold leaf in a performance of his death. We followed in procession behind the brown 2001 Ford Crown Victoria carrying Mullins, now “under arrest,” to a platform facing the forbidding mill, where masked workers toiling in a spectacular construction pit were smelting iron in five white-clad furnaces spitting embers into the frigid air.
And there we stood in pelting rain for a back-aching eternity, watching the workers’ repetitive actions, listening to the musicians play their dissonant industrial sounds and the singers shriek, awaiting rapture. Darkness fell, the wind came up, and the temperature dropped, but we stood our ground. At last, something new entered the scene: a dump truck that dropped the Chrysler remains for the workers to feed to the furnaces....
All of a sudden, rivers of golden lava sluiced through the site, radiating a blessed heat. I heard cheers. But our excitement was very short-lived. Burly guards rushed us off the platform with an urgency that told us danger was near, bringing the performance to an abrupt close before the final scene, when a vulture was to rise from the fire. Apparently water can ignite powerful explosions if it meets molten steel."
In addition to the artforum.com post (which has many pictures of the art world celebrities who attended) some photos have begun to pop up on Flickr: