My Barbarian’s Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater at Human Resources

"Object Opera (Rehearsal: Dance of the Sailors and Witches at the Fall of Carthage)," 2012
“Object Opera (Rehearsal: Dance of the Sailors and Witches at the Fall of Carthage),” 2012

Join LA’s Human Resources this Saturday February 11, from 7-10pm as they present My Barbarian’s Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater, a residency in the form of a gallery installation that includes new videos, sculptures, and a performance environment.  The project highlights the paradoxes of an art practice founded in critique, which nonetheless relies on economic forces that are worthy of serious criticism.  In this time of spectacle and disparity, excess and poverty, the baroque figures as an ornate frame that contains all of these extremes.  My Barbarian performs a variety of styles within this frame; camp drag, baroque opera, communist drama, countercultural performance and world theater all accumulate into a set of narratives that assimilate too much information.  Enacting this accumulation, the group developed characters such as “Shakuntala DuBois” and “Cassandra Wasserstein Shakespeare,” masked figures who are trapped within cyclical forces they can foresee but cannot change.

The exhibition includes new works that stretch My Barbarian’s material vocabulary. These include “Tapestries,” or stylized videos projected on cloth surfaces, “Oracles,” which are Junoesque totemic figures that attempt to tell the future, and a large-scale model of a baroque theater, which becomes a context for miniature performances.  Theatrical elements, including a series of original masks and dramatic lighting, fill out the colorful environment.

Featuring these and other new works, Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater evolves out of a 2011 performance at the Kitchen, New York and a 2010 workshop and installation at Grand Arts, Kansas City, where the project was initiated as a part of artist Emily Roysdon’s Ecstatic Resistance exhibition.  These versions used live interactions to present the absurdities of the American financial crisis as a performance of wastefulness, trashiness and class warfare.

"Shakuntala DuBois," video still, 2012
“Shakuntala DuBois,” video still, 2012

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