FALSE KRAFTWERK (2010)
event: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Zone B (curated by Anthony Kiendl)
location: Toronto (The Atrium on Bay — 595 Bay St)
performers: Jenny Kimmerly, Sanjay Lakhana, Mark Laliberte, Chantale Michaud, gustave morin
"We are the robots!"
False Kraftwerk is a multi-layered experiment in a kind of 'performative fakeness' that is not modeled after a karaoke experience or lip-synch stances. This work examines common opinions about the legitimacy of electronic music performance as a live art, while simultaneously exploring the oversimplified 'pop' body in relation to technology, sound and vision.
Four uniformed figures, visually unified in red shirt and black tie, enact a human puppet show using the sounds and imagery of eccentric electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk as a base. While Kraftwerk music plays throughout the evening and a fast-moving reversed video mashup of the seminal group performing are used as a seductive projected backdrop, the actual performers occupying the stage are left with little to do. The live men are the 'empty track' in this techno-pop megamix; they have no cues to hit since the machines are ultimately running the show. Emphasizing bored stances, they are reduced to showroom dummies trapped in front of their audience, passing the time by reading a book, checking their email or chatting with one another.
By mixing overt fakeness with calculated automaton gestures, False Kraftwerk offers an existential encounter between performer and audience. See men do nothing, in style!