Miguel Gutierrez – MCA

I was so excited to finally be able to see Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People in Chicago. I was a huge fan back in nyc, but was itching to be able to see him since my move here. It’s been a while since I’ve even posted in the performance category, I was sure I would finally have tons to say regarding And lose the name of action.

No beginning. Stargate SG-1. Parachute. White Room. Seance. Asylum. Useless Room. White. Black. Tableux. Garbage bag. UFO. Chairs. Acting. Play. Madness. Reading. Sci-fi. Mask. F*&K YOU! Video. Repetition. No end.

The list of seemingly random words goes on. The source material is very deep and very personal to Miguel, so I was surprised that the execution came across as very superficial to me. I’m guessing confusion is part of the piece but unfortunately I feel like it kept me from enjoying it.

Technically the dance movements were excellent and even the “non-dance” parts were obviously meticulously rehearsed and executed. These were the parts I enjoyed the most. The play acting, the speaking, the singing, the running about the stage – and especially the chair knocking over. But at the same time I felt like, these parts knocked me out of dance mode, and kept me from enjoying the more “pure dance” parts. It felt unbalanced to me – now we’re doing dance! now we’re doing speaking! now we’re watching a video in a useless room!

According to the new york times “Miguel Gutierrez’s ‘And lose the name of action’ seeks to demonstrate facets of a mind that has come apart.” I think he has accomplished that. Quite literally. But I think in many ways pure chaos is easy to accomplish, a little harder to do as an artistic rendition. A little editing, a little balance, a little more interpretation? Maybe that was missing? Or perhaps, I was just not prepared for a raw assault this time, and that is exactly what Miguel was exploring.

A few moments, made feel – now this is performance! But none made me feel – now this is dance! It was still amazingly awesome to see Miguel in Chicago, even more amazing to be mere inches away from him – convulsing, singing, undulating, and regurgitating white fabric/plastic.

For the record I came expecting something like this:

While most of it looked like this:

On second thought, I think those images beg more questions than answer – so, uh, nm?

some interesting interviews:

and lose the name of action
miguel gutierrez and the powerful people
january 31 – february 3, 2013
museum of contemporary art
chicago, il