Tuesday, 30 October 2007

New Art Club - The Visible Men

New Art Club
The Visible Men
29th October at The Place

'Close'……………... 'Open' the instructions given to the packed audience at various intervals during the performance last night at The Place. The audience were given the rules of the game at the start of the show, on hearing the word 'close' the audience were to close their eyes and on hearing the word 'open' they were to open them again. An ingenious idea from Pete Shenton and Tom Roden who create the winning partnership called New Art Club. The Visible Men is developed from the original idea for New Art Club's 2004 Place Prize piece The Short Still Show which involved strategically placed blackouts. The essence of the idea remained, the importance of the invisible, the things we cannot see, but are none the less essential elements of a dance performance. This was a fascinating look at the unseen in performance, while breaking a few fundamental laws of physics, and revealing our true colours in the process.

When asked by Pete who had ‘cheated’ and opened their eyes, the vast majority of the audience admitted to this, including me. I had the desire to see the invisible but upon seeing it, much like a card trick explained, the magic disappeared. I therefore decided to revert back to ignorance, which for this game was bliss. There were moments where I opened my eyes and thought ‘how did he get there?’ Of course you assume that Pete or Tom had run across the stage while your eyes were closed, but without witnessing this, how did you know?

As ever New Art Club’s brand of dance philosophy was humorous yet thought provoking. I left the performance with aching eyelids, a smile on my face, and many questions. Another triumph for New Art Club!

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