Italian writer Italo Calvino once said that ‘lightness is a value, rather than a defect’.
It’s this notion being explored at the upcoming Live Event at the ICA: Against Gravity.
The event is curated by artist Catherine Borra, and forms part of the ICA’s efforts to reintroduce live art to the institution. She says, ‘We tried to formulate a programme to reintroduce young, creative energy.
‘The central problem for creative people in the art world is that there are these emotional and historical ties that block them from producing something they feel is new and free. Against Gravity is a reflection on how to deal with the legacy of the past.’
Against Gravity will feature performances from Laure Prouvost, Davide Savorani and Matthew Stone, Conrad Ventaur’s installation, film screenings, DJ sets from Pandora’s Jukebox, and fanzines and research materials to peruse in the reading room, amongst other things.
Borra adds, ‘It’s about embracing the past but realising you have to make a step into the future. You can’t mould too much on the past – you have to take courage and make a step further. All the artists have different ways of dealing with past materials and nostalgia and using it for something different.
‘The aspect we’ve been focussing on is emotion and passion – formats that are quite obsolete in the art world. The artists are using emotion and passion in a new way to emancipate themselves from theory format.’
One of the featured artists, Matthew Stone, says, ‘A lot of the works seem to have a focus on the experience of art, so whilst it’s still conceptually driven, a lot of the work also wants to evoke an intuitive reaction.’
Stone will be performing a multimedia piece entitled Anatomy of Immaterial Worlds, which involves a hypnotic musical score, dance, opera and computer-generated video, and is heavily informed by his interest in shamanism.
He says, ‘I’ve made something which visually describes the shamanic journey. The music is designed to mimic the structure of shamanic music, so the audience starts off by watching something but as the music and visuals progress, the audience is encouraged to enter into this trance like state. On a basic level the room will descend into darkness and the music will be quite monotonous.’
He adds, ‘As a creative person you hardly ever know whether or not you can directly transmit the things you see in your head to an audience. That’s what’s so exciting about doing it – trying to create that within the minds of other people. In my mind the definition of art is always metaphysical: thinking about looking back times when there was a less logical framework.’
Live Weekends: Against Gravity runs from 26 – 28 November at the ICA, The Mall, London, SW1Y