Thursday, 8 April 2010


Last week I saw went to see a film recordning of S/N, dumb type's celebrated theatrical dance performance from 1995.

It's about AIDS, but also about much more. Watching it I increasingly felt that it was also about the sediments of my self, poisoned with gender, nationality and power.

It opens up with darkness. There are figures running and falling, electronic sounds that are sometimes painful. A swirl of circle shaped images of naked torsos in a cold, inhuman blue light - all round, as if put in the line of fire or seen in a microscope.

Dance, music, images, text drill themselves into your eyes, ears and mind.
The beauty of pain.
No, this is no whole, no damned, smooth, claustrophobic Gesamtkunstwerk.
It never makes you impatient, since it opens up and tears away.
Who could fail to love anything that chills your heart like this?
It is montage at its best. It is so good.

There is a montage-like effect in the juxtaposition of actors too: in the movement between Furuhashi's acerbic, unsettling intensity and Bubu's gentle patience.

Much of the force of the performance comes from  genre-montage, as when Furuhashi in drag bursts out in "People who need people". Just as love can no longer be thought without AIDS, songs that would have been boring in themselves are suddenly good, rescued by their insertion into a montage, as if only sarcasm could make them sound just so sweet, innocent and moving as they probably aimed to be when they were created.

No doubt it's copyright problems concerning som stupid quoted chanson that's prevented the S/N DVD from being released.

If irony and desperacy are the only ways to save sweetness from being ideological, then why am I then suddenly so moved by totally un-ironical words like these: "Don’t cry, you’ve finally made a step in the right direction”?

S/N hits you underground, it digs open these hardened layers of self (so poisoned with prejudice), and makes you long for change.

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